Authors in Lockdown

2020 has been a strange year so far. Wild fires in Australia, earthquakes in Turkey, locust swarms in Africa, and protests for BLM across the globe after the murder of George Floyd are just a few things that have happened already. Many people have joked that 2020 is the start of the apocalypse. It’s certainly been a very challenging time. Lockdowns due to Covid 19 have also massively effected people. This is how some of our authors have been staying positive and writing during their isolation.

DES FONOIMOANA – Queen of Plot Twists…

Quarantine for me has been a blessing and a curse. I miss my friends, my life outside of my home, and I miss my traveling adventures, but I have been lucky enough to find new adventures in publishing my novel, The Monsters Within. As it is coming out on August 14, 2020, I am working hard to try to prep everything for release day and work through the challenges of lockdown. I never anticipated that I would publish a novel. That, aside from loved ones including my fluffy corgi and husband, has been my biggest inspiration and push to get through everything happening in the world right now. I think if I was without the support I have, from my writing sisters and best friends, my novel would be a half-typed document with no clear goal. Thanks to them, it is fully fleshed out and is getting ready to be presented to the world. 

Writing, for me, is an easy task. I aim for generally 500 words a day, which fluctuates depending on life and is achieved anywhere–even the bath. Editing, on the other hand, is never easy for me. Going back and working through the flaws of my story is an overwhelming challenge, but I think between my alpha reader, beta readers, and my incredibly patient and creative editor, that my story will reach its fullest potential. Working through the developmental aspect of editing has been especially exciting as I am getting the chance to really reveal what I want in my story and how I want the plot to carry into the next couple books. 

To keep myself amped up for the release, I have been going back over the story, over notes, and outlining the next pieces of my characters’ stories. What is fun for me is watching how my characters have changed over time, like real people. Some of them have new names, some of them were meant to be brief but took over the story. At the same time I am reminding myself that this literary growth is parallel to my growth as a person, where I can see myself more confident in life and my writing. This has been the chance to focus on those aspects of myself, and a writer, that I want to improve on, just like my characters.

While I wish we could go back to the way we were, I am grateful for the time to focus on my novel and see what I am capable of. I hope everyone gets the chance to really look inside of themselves and see how great they truly are.

Des Fonoimoana’s debut dystopian fantasy The Monsters Within is coming to you this August!

ELORA BURRELL – Author of Speculative Fiction…

It is interesting to see how something so dire as a Pandemic and Quarantine can push one to work despite the conditions. Although this lockdown has caused many difficulties and heartache, my drive and motivation truly soared over the first number of weeks. While I balanced prepping my debut novel Neverlander for editing, I also managed to juggle its sequel; NeverNever. Now halfway through the publishing process with Neverlander, and allowing myself to step back from NeverNever for a temporary breather, my get-up-and-go attitude has shifted.  The weeks have crept on and now in week fourteen I find myself in a slump only reading can seemingly fix.

I have always dreamed that one day one of my books would be published, but it never felt solidified until in the recent months. It has always seemed like a distant dream, like winning the lottery or a holiday to the bahamas. A nice thought in theory, but I never believed it would ever happen. I have to pinch myself on occasion, because I can’t believe how far I’ve come with my writing and my status as an author and entrepreneur. If someone had told me a year ago my first book would be published in the fall of 2020, there would have been some serious doubting and awkward laughing going on. To think in four months all my blood, sweat and tears will be in physical form is so surreal and very exciting!

But going back to my point on writing, well for me personally, it has always been a tricky task. Some days I can write thousands of words at the drop of a hat, but there are also days where I struggle to produce one single sentence. On these days where I find myself struggling to produce a steady flow, I find myself resorting to reading and sometimes even watching programmes which include themes I tend to incorporate into my own writing. Anything I can use as a means of inspiration, I find myself drawn to. Though there are days where frustration and impatience get the better of me, I am usually better off stepping away from my writing duties to refresh and re inspire myself. 

As much as I would love to say I’ve found a way to stay positive throughout this lockdown, I would be lying. This quarantine has been one of the hardest trials I’ve yet faced due to personal reasons as well as within my writing. I know I’m not the only writer who has lost their flair throughout this pandemic, and I certainly won’t be the last. But as always, I’ll keep trundling through until I break the cycle with an idea or two.

Elora Burrell’s debut YA fantasy Neverlander, will be coming to you in October!

S. M. MITCHELL – Dark Fantasy & Horror Author…

Lockdown has proven to be difficult for everyone, but in a number of ways it’s actually done me the world of good. I have a 7 year old son, so that has been challenging at times – when I’ve really needed to get some work done and he’s anxious and wanting comfort, I’m unable to crack on to achieve that day’s goals. But it’s also been great. I love spending time with my little man and when I’m stuck, he likes to help me come up with ideas to sort out my block. What’s better than a child’s imagination to unblock a fantasy writer’s brain? I get stuck and he comes up with ideas of bog trolls, zombie bunnies and making fairy furniture out of acorns.

Spending all of our time at home, together, has also helped with my productivity. Usually I’m at home during the day alone and it becomes very easy to get distracted and achieve nothing. But with a big family all congregating in the lounge or the kitchen during the day means I’ve spent less time distracted by T.V or social media and have actually found a rhythm for getting my work done daily and easily. I get my writing done in the morning because as the day goes on my ability to produce words gets lesser and lesser. I then get my ‘work stuff’ done during the afternoon or the evening with set hours for work and writing. By spending time working out when I’m most productive during the day, I’ve been able to plan a schedule that allows me to achieve goals whilst also being sustainable. It’s not go big or go home, it’s go steady. Too big a goal and after a day or two you’ll slip and give up.

It’s quite easy to lose hope in times like this, so it’s important to find something that keeps you motivated. For me it’s my writers group. My girls. I have a group of writer friends who all write similar genres to me. I rely on these girls to help me stay positive. I share my goals with them, my achievements, things within the publishing process that are exciting me and vice versa. We lean on each other for ideas, advice and to support each other’s little successes. Writing a book is such a long, tedious process you can’t wait to celebrate until after you’ve published. You’ve got to celebrate the little milestones along the way or you’ll get disenchanted with the whole journey. When lockdown is over I’d like to find a local writing or book group to join. It’s fab to have distance relationships but I’d also like to meet some local writers so that I can spend more time out of the house. Writing can be very isolating even when you have writer friends, because of the nature of what you’re doing – spending all day with your nose in a notebook or at a desk. Meeting local writers is my newest aim.

S. M. Mitchell’s debut dark fantasy novel The Bloody Maiden will be coming to you January 2021!

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