There’s no question many of us are plagued by a feeling of ennui these days. I decided to suggest three anti-ennui activities for both fiction and non-fiction writers. So. . . let’s get to it.
Ennui Fighter #1—Pick up a great book by a writer in your own genre. Read it first for pleasure. Then dig in. Analyze the POV. Could it have worked with a different POV? How long are the chapters? How does the author handle the backstory? Is there a character who could have been fleshed out more? Did the book drag at any point? Did you skip over any parts in your first read? Why? You get the idea, right? This is how we learn from others.
Ennui Fighter #2— Post five reviews on multiple sites for the books you’ve read but not yet reviewed. It’s a little known fact that editors, agents and writers read reviews and recognize your name after a while. This comes in handy when you are submitting for publication or seeking endorsements from other writers.
Ennui Fighter #3— Gather some writer friends together on Zoom to do a series of round robin brainstorm sessions. Maybe two twenty-minute deep dives on each Zoom meeting. Repeat these meetings until you’ve spent twenty minutes on each author in your group.
For Non-fiction writers:
Ennui Fighter #1— Just as I’ve suggested the novelists do, you need to pick up a great nonfiction book in your category and carefully analyze it. How long is it? How many chapters? What kind of features did the author use? Questions? Sidebars? Bullet points? What makes the book stand out from others on this subject? Does the author have the credentials to write the book? How did the author “build” this book? (Remember, we all have content. How will it best be presented to the reader?)
Ennui Fighter #2— Explore what we call “felt need.” You might use social media to ask what kind of book your followers wish they had in their hands right now. Or start looking at the magazines beside the checkout stands at the Supermarket. They always use articles that meet the felt needs of their readers. Listen to conversations. Where are people hurting these days? You need to be constantly tuning in to your potential readership and giving them the tools they desperately need.
Ennui Fighter #3— Write and submit articles. Many of us are suffering from shortened attention span these days. Why not do a few fun and much-needed articles and get our writing pump primed that way.
So let us know what things you are doing to keep moving ahead.