Writers in the twenty-first century have to be more than just writers. Depending on your work and how you want to reach readers, you also have to act as an editor, marketer, spokesperson, advocate, or even entrepreneur for your work. As you complete and finesse your latest manuscript, here are four side To-Dos to keep in mind—or work on if you’re tired of writing and editing.
1. Read something else.
The best writers are often voracious readers. My own writing quality tends to suffer when I haven’t read anything new in a while, good or bad. If you’re writing in a specific genre, try reading classic novels by the masters or NY Times Bestsellers of that genre to see what works and how you can improve your own book.
Or, if you just want something to read so you can focus on someone else’s story for once, I’ve got tons of recommendations for books you might be into.
2. Build an online base.
Whether you’ve already published something or are about to, having a strong online base of people who already follow you is essential. Modern writers sometimes have to do marketing themselves, whether that is maintaining a blog or cultivating a social media presence.
The upside of keeping an online presence is that you can manage it however you want. Some writers maintain an active Facebook page, while others prefer Twitter. I like being able to post illustrations on Instagram and am currently trying to get a Tumblr up and running. Try looking into where your readers hang out online (I’m middle grade and YA, which means Instagram and Tumblr) and get to know what it is they like and how you can better reach them.
3. Sharpen a different skill.
While most people have a best talent, few people have a singular talent. What other hobbies do you have besides writing? I doodle and draw a lot, and currently I’m trying to teach myself how to cook. I’m taking marketing classes to sharpen social media and outreach skills, but you can find tons of free courses online and learn how to do something else.
Who knows? Maybe that new skill will inform your writing, or spark some inspiration for you next work.
4. Hang out with other writers.
Sometimes writers tend to be singular creatures, especially when we get really entrenched in a manuscript. However, most major cities and towns have thriving writer communities and clubs that you can join to network, get help from people who’ve been there, or find beta readers and critique partners.
I joined the Atlanta Writer’s Club last year, and through them I was able to go to the Atlanta Writer’s Conference, connect with beta readers, and have agents and editors ask for my manuscript. All I did was google “atlanta writers” and I’m off to a better start than I was a year ago.