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Waiting for buses

Simon Whaley chats to three writers about how they cope in the quiet times between projects.

Writing is like waiting for a bus: you wait ages for a commission, sale or even an idea, and then suddenly three come along together. In the business of writing, life is often a cycle of feast and famine. Feasts are lovely, but famines can be unsettling.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re pitching magazine ideas to editors, trying to generate short story ideas, writing books or entering competitions, we all experience these quieter moments. What’s the best way of coping with these quieter times? How can we keep ourselves motivated?

Expect the unexpected

Most writers go through some leaner periods. It’s part of the vocation. This is normal. Once you accept this, dealing with it becomes easier.

Helen Yendall, short story writer and author of Start A Creative Writing Class, looks for different ways to feel as though she is writing. ‘I try not to get too despondent! It helps to do other things, so even if I’m lacking ideas, I can usually manage to write a blog post (https://blogaboutwriting.wordpress.com) or do my Morning Pages. At least, that way, I’m still writing.’

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About Writing Magazine

Want to double your story sales? In this month's issue of Writing Magazine we tell you how to turn one idea into two stories. All writers need feedback on their work, and we explore how positive feedback will make you a better writer. Is horror dead? We look at the current state of horror publishing. This month's star interview is author Nikesh Shukla talking about the big issues: life, race and big ideas. Read 20 pages of news about competitions and opportunities to get into print, and there's £60,089 in writing prizes to be won.