It has been a long dry spell for my writing. From January through April I was tied up with my teaching duties and it was all I could do to keep up with grading papers and correspondence with my over hundred students. I barely kept up with blogging commitments and had a minimal presence on social media. When the semester ended, I breathed a sigh of relief and opened up my abandoned manuscripts, eager to finish them up.
Unfortunately, the words didn't come. I sat here staring at my laptop, wondering where to go from where I'd left off. I brainstormed with other people and took notes, outlining a series of events, the goals, motivations and conflicts of my main characters, did research until my eyes crossed.
Nothing worked. I still had nothing.
Then the headaches started. Every time I opened my laptop I'd feel this pressure on my temples and I'd have to lie down. My daughter encouraged me to take some time off and work on some other hobbies, like sewing, scrapbooking, and card-making. I made plans for re-organizing my craft room and found out I have WAAAAYYYYY to much fabric. So I started finding ways to use it. I found quick and easy instructions for making pillowcases, as well as an organization who was collecting them. I found a quick little project for using up scraps of fabric and started making things for giveaways at book signings. And I made a whole bunch of tote bags. Bags with handles, bags with drawstrings, and I've got some I'll probably put zippers on. Big bags, little bags, Christmas bags, springy type bags, you name it. I'm going to be ready for any occasion.
I'm going to use most of these bags as giveaways. A lot of times authors are asked to donate giveaways for various causes. I can fill these bags with some of my books as well as other little promotional items. I'm so excited about them I'm starting a new blog series that I'm calling "Marketing on a Shoestring." These bags cost me next to nothing to make. Most of the fabric was given to me. And a lot of my giveaway stuff is handmade too. I'll tell you about them in future posts. In the meantime I've asked other creative types to share the giveaway items they come up with that don't cost them much. Because unless you are a NYT best-selling author (and even then, sometimes), you don't make enough money writing to pay for your marketing.
Anyway, Since I don't have a new book coming out soon, I'm going to give away some of my bags! I just have to figure out what to put in them. Stay tuned!
Oh, and by the way, the writing is slowly starting up again. I'm hopeful I'll finish another book before the end of the year.