Authors and writers are a unique bunch for tons of reasons, and how COVID-19 has affected us is no different. As a realist/optimist, I have chosen to see the bright spot – that this virus has delivered a doozy of a chance to write, write, write. While I am heartbroken for those out of work (and for about two months, I was one of those people), I am also encouraged by the wealth of writing opportunities this insipid virus has delivered to writers, authors, and poets. If you haven’t yet pitched any COVID-19-inspired ideas to editors, what are you waiting for?
I suspect that article pitches based on how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected your life will be sought after by many publications for a long time to come. As writers, here is your chance to pitch your unique story to editors hungry for content. The common pitch rules apply: research the online or print venue you are interested in submitting to, pitch to a specific editor if possible, adhere to the publication’s query guidelines (for example, do they want a query letter or a written article?), and compose a professional, well-written, engaging piece.
For authors, COVID-19 has provided material for you as well. If you have a powerful story to tell about your personal journey with this virus, get started on your book proposal now. The questions below can apply to articles as well as full-length manuscripts.
These are some questions you might consider addressing in your COVID-19 article or manuscript:
1) Have I learned anything about myself as a result of this global shut-down? If so, what surprised me most?
2) Did I lose any friends or family members to this virus? If so, how did this affect me differently than it would have if I had lost them to something else?
3) Have I contemplated my own mortality for the first time? What did that look like?
4) How did the correlations between COVID-19 and its political implications affect my view of others in my country or my government? Did it change anything significantly in me?
5) Did a close family or friend relationship take a severe hit during this pandemic/political crisis? Did it cost me a relationship with them?
6) Did I become more (or less) religious or spiritual because of the COVID-19 pandemic?
7) How have I changed because of the COVID-19 virus and the political uprisings that occurred simultaneously? Will this be a permanent change?
8) Did anything positive come out of my personal battle with COVID-19?
9) Did the quarantine cause my spouse and me to divorce? Did it repair our marriage?
10) Did I change political parties during COVID-19? Why?
11) Did I lose my job because of COVID-19? How has that influenced my future?
12) Did working from home change my view on the workplace?
Whatever you choose to write about, nothing about your article or essay can be ordinary. What you’ve discovered must be significant, relatable, and profound in such a way that you are no longer the same person you were before this pandemic hit. Your story must stand out, or it will end up in the slush pile. You can rise above the others by being honest, vulnerable, and revelatory.
For authors, include important research. You do not have to be a physician or scientist to write a book about COVID-19. This will be your personal story, a memoir. But because it will center on a medical condition, facts and figures matter.
As a writer or author, you have the opportunity to use COVID-19, and the political backdrop that surrounded it, to express and even cathartically process your personal story. You just have to write it.