Tuesday, July 21, 2020

When Writers Need to Pivot…

by Lucinda Secrest McDowell @LucindaSMcDowel

This week I attended an online panel of publishing personnel discussing how our industry is having to pivot during this time of upheaval with many of the usual communication platforms out of commission due to the world pandemic. In other words, when our product or the normal delivery of such is no longer meeting the need, we must change—pivot—and try new things. 

I find this both exciting and scary. 

But I’ve been somewhat of a pioneer my whole life, so I’m not afraid to try (and possibly fail) in new ventures. 

Here are just a few ways writers can still share our words, in addition to writing traditional books:

Regular postings of short devotions or book reviews or reflections of life are still read and a great place to work on your writing. Most blogs are 500-700 words and sent to an email list of subscribers. But it’s a great idea a few days later to post a teaser and include the link to that blog on your social media.

Facebook Live: 
While it seems that everyone is popping up on your feed with something to say, why not join in? Perhaps the shorter message, the better. Give an encouraging devotion, read a favorite text, or share some good news. Several authors invited me to join them in reading aloud the Psalms for the first two weeks of May – that’s when I learned how to do FB Live. During the quarantine several authors did book launches through Facebook Live to great response.

Many organizations rely on experts to present webinars to their followers. Even if you aren’t paid, this kind of opportunity provides great exposure and gives you a chance to share your knowledge. I’m excited to do a webinar for First Place for Health on “How to Share Your Story” next month. 

Guest Post: 
Contact other writer friends and exchange stories for each other’s blogs one week. It’s a great way to meet new people (and potential readers) and also helps you lift up fellow writers. 

Online Event Speaking: 
Like many of you, most of my Spring/Summer/Fall speaking events were either cancelled or postponed. But some were moved online and therefore I was still able to speak, facilitate discussion groups, do one-on-one mentoring, and meet new contacts. Of course, I had to learn a lot of new technological skills (pre-recording sessions, zoom rooms, google meet, and more) but it was well worth it and I am grateful for the opportunities to serve. 

Compilation Book: 
Often a collegial group will come together and pool articles or stories in a compilation book. This can be a fairly easy way to get in print and have product at your book table (when those in-person events return.) 

Short Subject Book: I just received in the mail a small, 140-page devotional from Moody Publishers that was developed quickly to address current needs – “Psalms for the Anxious Heart.” If you have content that addresses something current, a short book might be the way to go – just be sure you have some ideas for getting it into the hands of readers. 

Zoom Teaching: 
With a new book releasing late February, I was thrilled to schedule a weekly Bible Study based on “Soul Strong” at a local coffee shop. After 50 women registered, the world shut down, so we took a risk and moved the whole thing to Zoom. Everyone was on a high learning curve but those eight weeks got us through mid-March to mid-May focusing on God’s strength so it was well worth it. 

What are you doing that’s new and innovative in these changing times?


Lucinda Secrest McDowell, M.T.S., is a storyteller and seasoned mentor who engages both heart and mind while “Helping you Choose a Life of Serenity & Strength.” A graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Furman University, McDowell is the author of 15 books and contributing author to 30+ books. Her award-winning books include LIFE-GIVING CHOICESSOUL STRONG (2020), DWELLING PLACES (2017 Christian Retailing BEST Award for Devotional)ORDINARY GRACES  (2018 Selah Finalist), LIVE THESE WORDS, and Refresh! Lucinda, a member of the REDBUD WRITERS GUILD, received Mt. Hermon “Writer of the Year” award and guest blogs for The Write Conversation, Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference Blog and (in)courage. Whether co-directing  “RENEW ~ RETREAT FOR NEW ENGLAND WRITING,”  pouring into young mamas, or leading a restorative day of prayer, she is energized by investing in people of all ages. Lucinda’s favorites include tea parties, good books, laughing friends, ancient prayers, country music, cozy quilts, musical theatre, and especially her family scattered around the world doing amazing things.  Known for her ability to convey deep truth in practical and winsome ways, she writes from “Sunnyside” cottage in New England and blogs weekly at https://lucindasecrestmcdowell.com/ Follow Lucinda on Twitter: @LUCINDASMCDOWEL


  1. Lucinda,

    Pivot is definitely the new buzz word in our culture. Everyone is making changes--and I include myself in this process. For many years I've been calling for writers to diversify their income stream--then when something doesn't work, you can still make a living and survive. It is the same principle that you are discussing with using pivot. Great insights here and appreciated,

    author of 10 Publishing Myths, Insights Every Author Needs to Succeed

  2. Thank you Lucinda for this list and the encouragement to learn new technology. :)

  3. Really helpful ideas, Lucinda. Thank you!