How to Write Evergreen Content That Reflects the State of the World
With more time on their hands than they have ever had before—and may ever have again—many individuals have sat down to tackle that long awaited book project. But whether this is their first book or their fifth, and whether they’re writing about their life experiences or the ins and outs of money management, many are grappling with the same conundrum. They are trying to figure out how to write a book that will remain relevant, while capturing the realities of our current circumstances.
For those who decided to put pen to paper—or fingers to keys—in the early weeks of the pandemic, it was hard to know just what the impact of COVID-19 would be. Would the sweeping shutdowns be temporary, a blip on our collective radar? And if so, did they belong in a book about running a successful medical practice, motivational speaking, or one’s personal journey from here to there? It was hard to know whether we would be forever changed, or simply return to business as usual in a matter of weeks.
Since then, of course, it has become clear that the world as we know it has been altered, and that the effects of this novel virus will be widespread and lasting—even when its threat lessens or ceases to be. As such, the question remains: how do authors write about the pandemic in a book that isn’t predicated on capturing this particular moment in time? How do we accurately predict what the realities of our industries will be like when we don’t know what the next few weeks—let alone months or years—will hold?
It’s a tough nut to crack, but we can set a few ground rules that will help provide clarity as you proceed:
Write about what we do know: While the data continues to evolve at a breakneck pace, there is much we have learned—particularly about how the pandemic has affected our markets to date. While things may continue to change, there is value in indicating what we know now, and how it has affected our areas of expertise so far.
Be careful, though, about making sweeping predictions about what we are seeing today might mean for tomorrow. That’s when you risk dating your material and missing the mark.
Consider trends that are likely to stick around long term: With that said, we have seen indications that some of the shifts in how we operate are here to stay. For example while many non-essential businesses were hesitant to instate work-from-home policies before the pandemic, the past several months have shown that—by and large—employees are actually more productive when working from home. Moreover, businesses can realize major savings when their teams work remotely, particularly when it comes to real estate costs. Thus, many are likely to maintain these policies, even when it’s safe to go back to the office.
With hard numbers on cost savings and productivity—numbers that matter in any environment—we can draw some conclusions about whether our current mode of operation will stick around.
Draw on past and present experience: If you’ve decided to write a book, it’s likely because you have life experience in droves—years of unexpected circumstances, trial and error and failures and triumphs to draw on. While the world may look unlike anything you’ve ever seen before, that experience matters.
Further, as you navigate work and life, you’re no doubt learning crucial lessons that are affecting the way you do business, interact with loved ones and employees and handle daily tasks and more significant milestones. That information is important, even if it shifts going forward.
The bottom line is that you have insight and perspective that is valuable in this situation and others, and we’re willing to bet that the world would benefit from hearing you out. Lean into that. Embrace it. And if you’re unsure about how it reads, don’t hesitate to ask a trusted friend, colleague or even a relative stranger for their honest opinion. If it doesn’t seem to add up, ask someone else. Ultimately, you’ll gain clarity that may not only be helpful in your book project, but also in the other areas of your existence.
Even when we know how this story ends, there will be as many routes from start to finish as there are people in the world. And chances are, yours is a pretty good one. Don’t hesitate to share it.