Monday, July 27, 2020

COVID19 Brought Opportunity That Helped Make Me A Working Writer

I have been writing since the ’90s. I decided to work toward earning income with my writing in 2012. Making a living the dream. I was still working full time in a day job.

At the end of 2013, I lost my job. The job search began. I had several interviews and second and third callbacks, but still, no job offers.

Around 2015 my mobility declined to the point of narrowing my job options. I started looking for remote or virtual work exclusively. Some jobs I went through all the preliminary stuff with interviews and testing but no hire. One I was hired for but then told no because they over hired.

From November 2017 to 2018, I was totally homebound as mobility continued to decline along with my quality of life in general. The constant rejection job-wise was disheartening and a bit depressing.

No matter how hard I tried, everything I tried just did not stick or work out. I had some up-and-coming prospects and hopes that just did not happen or pan out.

My self-esteem and self-worth dive bombed. I was really struggling just to get through the days. I have worked since I was fifteen years old. For the first time in my life, a lot of time had passed without me finding work.

I could no longer maintain the life I created and lived since my father died in 1990. I was putting in the work and seeing very little change for all the effort.

Investing in your writing communities.

The one thing I did do is stay very involved in my writing communities: Holly Lisle’s writing class forum since 2011, Insecure Writer’s Support Group since 2014, and Ninja Writer’s, LLC since 2016.

Another writer from the Holly forums and I started Stormdance Publications to create themed anthologies in November 2018. We have published three Grumpy Old Gods anthologies so far, with four more on our schedule to release this year into 2021.

And then there was COVID19.  

The closings and stay at home in the USA started around March 2020. The world became homebound. Everyone was forced to figure out new ways to work, socialize, and survive.

I attended a lot of Zoom meetings. I also joined Ninja Writers Academy in January 2020 and started seriously working on my novel. I began hosting write-ins with my Ninja Writers science fiction/fantasy workshop group. They started finishing their first drafts.

In the last week of May 2020, the opportunity presented itself to start my own online business.

I had decided to create a short story course. Another NWA student approached me, offering to pay me when they heard about it. They wanted me to teach them, one on one via Zoom, as I created it.

That was the spark that changed me from an aspiring writer into a working writer.

I discovered I have a knack for story development and worldbuilding. People started asking me for that service.

I added developmental coaching to my service list. I also started offering help for those who struggle with learning Scrivener via Zoom one on one too.

That began my evolution to becoming a working writer.

Ninja Writers founder and creative, Shaunta Grimes, noticed that Ninja Writers students were finishing their first drafts in our science fiction/ fantasy workshop in the academy. When she asked them they told her that my holding the write-ins had helped a lot.

She approached me to run write-ins for Ninja Writers Club & Academy working part-time for Ninja Writers, LLC. I am now part of a team of eight. Now I do a NW fiction co-working call for the club and academy on Tuesdays, a short story drop-in for academy only on Thursdays, plus the write-ins.

I am the Ninja Writers Accountability Manager. I am the fiction columnist and editor for the The Ninja Writer Pub on Medium.  Ninja Writers have many new things in the works for the end of the year and the coming year that are still in the planning stages. 

My life before COVID19 was between four walls with little face-face socialization, jobless living on a tiny fixed income that did not cover the bills. I wondered if that was all my life would ever be any more. I felt like quitting everything.

Now my life is socially full, and I am a working writer. Things are far from perfect, but these are some long time dreams coming to fruition.

I have invested in all my writing communities for years now. I continued writing.  I kept trying and chose to stay involved where I could; when COVID hit, I was able to step into opportunity.

Stay involved even when things feel hopeless. Opportunity pops up in unexpected places when you are not looking. If you don’t have a writing community to get involved in, find one. You are not alone.

Keep dreaming.
Hang on.
Never give up. 
Community matters. 
Networking is important
Do the work.  

IWSG ROCKS, insecure writers, join us! 


nashvillecats2 said...

A great post Juneta, to be honest I find that this Covid19 have stopped me from writing up to date poems as my writing consisted of what I did do day to day.
So have had to submit poems from my books.
I'm pleased you have found some form of writing during these uncertain times.

Keep well and safe.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That is great to hear, Juneta! Now you are on demand and we are proud to have you on our team.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

That's wonderful, Juneta. You did it!

Natalie Aguirre said...

That's great that you found a way to work as a writer. It's so hard being out of work. I struggled too. Glad it worked out for you.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Awesome post! I have had a tough time in the last four years, as well, with health issues and just the application-to interview-to "not for our team, sorry" process of not finding a full-time job. It's been tough. But I do have students I tutor. I tried teaching a class online and although I showed up at the appointed time, it turned out everyone else thought it was ET. Yikes. Thankfully, it was a free class, but I learned a valuable lesson. If I'm offering a world-wide online class, I need to have the time zone written in all caps and bold, and then I need to confirm it.

I'm still learning. I'm still writing. And 2020 is filled with different opportunities - not the ones I had hoped for, but new ones.
I'm glad to read your story, Juneta - it fills me with hope!

Jemi Fraser said...

What a wonderful, uplifting post!! I'm so glad you've made/grabbed/embraced all of these opportunities. Congrats & thanks for being an inspiration!

Deniz Bevan said...

A great post! Thank you for sharing your writing journey with us!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Juneta - such an interesting post on overcoming, looking at new ways to approach life in these times - so many congratulations with your new project and future ideas. Looks like you're helping many others ... and great to see you with the IWSG team ... all the best - Hilary

Mirka Breen said...

Juneta, you're an inspiration.
COVID-19 closures have had the odd effect of equalizing for many of us. Some, who have stopped restaurant dinning or pleasure travelling for $$ reasons long ago (pointing at self) are now in the same place of most of humanity. Some, like you, who have been shut out from the bustling workplace are finding themselves back where everyone else is, shut in and reaching out.

Fundy Blue said...

Hi Juneta! I'm late to your post, but I'm glad that I read it. This is such an inspiring post. You have been through so much, and now it's coming together for you. Awesome! The only writers' group I belong to is the IWSG which I love. For some reason I can't get Zoom going. Ninja Writer's sounds like a good group. I'll have to check it out. Thanks for sharing. Take care!

Juneta key said...

Thank you, Yvonne

Thanks, Alex. I am thrilled to be a part of IWSG admins.

Thank you, Natalie

I get that Tyrean. You are so right. Its tough. Wishing you much success with your clients as well.

Thank you, Jemi

LOL, thank you Fundy Blue. Ninja Writers is a great group. They offer tech calls to the club members on Tuesday nights, so can help you with that Zoom problem if you can get there. lol. Just saying... Would love to see you there.

Thank you, Joylene. I feel the same way about knowing you. You have been inspiring. This whole IWSG group is... I love this community.

Thank you, Hilary

You so right Mirka, things have been tough, but finding new ways has been the answer for some of us.

Thank you Deniz

Pat Garcia said...


This is so encouraging and I am so happy for you. I could relate to so much of what you said.
Thanks for sharing.
Shalom aleichem,
Pat Garcia

Sandra Cox said...

What a wonderful post! Thanks for sharing.

Natalie said...

I think this is amazing. Thank you for sharing your writing journey. Great.