Tag Archives: Covid-19

Help for Writers in Covid Times

From The Authors League Fund: “With the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of writers across the U.S. have seen a sudden and dramatic loss of income. Overnight, writers lost writing, teaching, and editing jobs, as well as speaking engagements, school visits, and other paid appearances. Many have spouses who also lost work, and many face the difficult transition to schooling young children at home.

“We immediately shifted our focus to address this need. While we typically help up to 80 writers per year, since mid-March 2020 we have helped 300 authors, journalists, and poets. Our support is used for rent, utilities, groceries, and medical bills. We continue to help writers enduring medical crises and older writers living on a fixed income.

“Thanks in large part to generous support from donors, we are doubling our budget and hope to do so again in 2021. … We hope you will support our work with a tax-deductible donation of any size. Make a secure donation by credit card at https://authorsleaguefund.org/donate/.

“We understand if you are not in a position to give. If you are struggling, do not hesitate to apply for support at https://authorsleaguefund.org/apply/. … We also recommend this detailed guide to COVID-19 resources from our sister organization, the Authors Guild: www.authorsguild.org/covid-19-resources-for-authors.”

(Please help if you can. Writing, always a precarious career, has been a particularly difficult way to make a living in these strange times. —Deborah J. Lightfoot)

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When Characters Speak

I’m having a great time working with a skilled, extraordinarily talented professional narrator to turn the first three books of Waterspell into audiobooks. The way the narrator has moved into the body of my wysard is uncanny. The man sounds exactly like the voice I heard in my head during all the years I devoted to writing Books 1 through 3. I look forward with eager anticipation to each newly recorded chapter the narrator sends me. He’s finished Waterspell Book 1: The Warlock and is approaching the one-third mark of Book 2: The Wysard. We plan to release both audiobooks together or within about a month of each other, since Book 1 ends on a cliffhanger and I believe listeners will want to move immediately into Book 2.

For me, an unexpected side benefit of hearing my characters’ voices come alive in the real world, is the inspiration this experience has provided to finally get me writing again. After my husband’s sudden death in 2012, I had no impulse to write. People would ask about a possible Book 4, and all I could tell them was that Life with a capital L had kicked me hard, and I wasn’t writing. Then came 2016, and the shock of discovering that I wasn’t living in the country I thought I was living in. The country of my birth was, in fact, a breeding ground for the absolute worst in human nature.

Therefore, after spending four years trying to patch together my life, I found myself obliged to join the Resistance and spend the next four years attempting to save the soul of my nation.

Then came 2020 and Covid-19, and a months-long self-isolation that has been a godsend for me. I hate the pain, the loss, the suffering that this virus has heaped on other people’s heads. I’m a walking example of white privilege: I get to stay home, safely isolated out in the country, ordering stuff for delivery to my gate and going into town only to pick up groceries and my mail. My pandemic experience has been 180 degrees from the devastation that others have experienced.

After years of no motivation followed by years of exhausting nonstop effort to resist the tide of fascism, I suddenly found myself with both the time and the desire to create something of my own again. Almost immediately upon entering my bubble of self-isolation, I hired my audiobook narrator. After six or seven weeks of listening to his breathtakingly good interpretations of my characters and their story, I placed my fingers upon the keyboard and started pounding out Book 4.

I started Draft One on May 6, and completed Draft Two on September 6. Record time for me (Books 1–3 took me 16 years to write and publish).

The second draft will need to sit for a couple of weeks. I do still have obligations to my state and my nation—I’m supporting candidates and contributing to Get Out the Vote efforts. I’ll spend the next couple of weeks engaged in that effort.

But then I’ll be looking through my notes again, and settling down for a close reread and re-edit of Draft Two. I’m tentatively planning a Summer 2021 release date of the Book 4 ebook, to coincide (I hope) with the release of the Waterspell Book 3 audiobook.

How good it is to be writing again. Strange, how inspiration will arrive unexpectedly, and opportunities may arise from cataclysm.


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Filed under Audiobooks, Books and Readers, Coronavirus, On Writing, Waterspell fantasy trilogy, Writers