Fuel for the Fire

I’m in a group for women and nonbinary writers with kids, and am seeing plaintive cries from people who are worried about maintaining writing careers this fall, in the midst of supervising e-learning, illness, etc.

If you don’t need the writing income immediately, and you’re primarily worried about career-building, then honestly, I would say the best thing you can do for your writing career is go easy on yourself this fall. Everything is slowed down, including publishing, both on the individual level, and as an industry.

It’s disaster-time in America, and all career goals need to be mitigated by that. In academia, we’re adding on a year to people’s tenure clocks, in acknowledgement that very few will be able to get anything productive done this year beyond the bare minimum.

I’ve been a working writer for 30 years, and have come through cancer treatment, having babies, etc. and so on. There’s an ebb and flow — some years, many publications, some years, almost none. Trust that you are a writer, and all of this is fuel for the fire; you will come back from this.

If you don’t burn yourself out trying to do too much, you’ll come back faster and stronger and better.

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