Friday, November 25, 2011

Change Sucks . . . or Does It?

Right now on writers' groups everywhere, writers are moaning about how hard it is to publish, format an e-book, communicate with an agent, afford a conference, make enough money, land a contract, fill-in-the-blank. The publishing industry started shifting about five years ago, and it continues to shake with huge aftershocks with no foreseeable settling back into some sense of norm.

And writers continue to wring their hands.

They whine that things aren't what they used to be. Or the business is all but bankrupt. Nobody can make a decent living. Everybody piece meals an income together, with no one making respectable wages. Amazon, Google, The Author's Guild, etc continue to point fingers and sue each other over changes, rights, the ability to earn a living. There might be some justification for some suits, but seriously. When writers raise hell, fuss and sling blame in anything other than rare occasion, they hurt themselves more than anyone else.

I follow a blog called Life Optimizer. Nice advice on how to live. I need this type of blog sprinkled in the midst of my sea of writing blogs that pour through my email. It keeps me grounded, sane, and civil.

Per the author, Sh--t, um...change happens. And we can make personal adjustments to deal with it. Let me summarize in my own words, so I don't just regurgitate someone else's blog.

Let change happen. At least the change that you can do nothing about. Of course you need to snatch your child out of the street, but why bitch about the Big Six publishers doing all that they do? Why cry about Amazon? When you hear change and then knee-jerk respond in emails, texts, and blog posts, you are wasting your time, energy and precious brain power that could be better used writing.

Accept the fact that change exists, and the world isn't going to always behave in a manner you respect. Just like someone, somewhere, doesn't like the way you write, reply, speak, look, walk, smell, etc. Change keeps this world alive and interesting. If it doesn't go your way, suck it up. Pick your fights carefully, and let the rest just wash over you.

Unless you're in court and somebody needs to be found guilty, forget placing blame. Change is never one person's fault in this crazy industry we work within. It's a huge machine with many gears that turns slowly. The Internet may make it seem change happens like a toggle switch, but it doesn't, and we don't know all the details that led to the results.The longer you think about it, the deeper you go, and chances are the more radical you'll take that trek. In other words, you over think. Again, let it wash over you.

Fighting and writing rarely coexist in a healthy manner. I know this globe is currently in the midst of economic and political chaos, but that doesn't mean you have to jump in the fray and fight for fairness in publishing. Like in economics and politics, fairness depends on the interpretation, and few agree.

How about this? Steer clear of the animosity, accept the fact the change is a fact, and write your story. Simplify your life, quiet the fury, and watch your productivity soar.


widdershins said...

A good many of the authors I know are positively gleeful at the changes. They're rubbing their hands together like concert pianists, warming up. They're learning new skills, experimenting with different ways of producing their work, and most of all, writing!
As scary as this new wild frontier can be, it's all ahead of us. Not since Gutenberg has writing as a profession been this damn exciting!

April Byrd said...

Yeah, you definitely have to move with the paradigm and hone new skills if you're truly passionate about what you do.

Civil War Horror (Sean McLachlan) said...

The changes in the past few years have mostly been good for me. The rise in online writing landed me a decent paying travel blogging gig. Yes, those are rare, but if you stack up some good clips you can get them.

Also, I'm excited by the possibilities of Kindle Direct Publishing. My novel wasn't clearly in a genre and therefore was ignored by the Big Six, so I just published it myself. Will this work as well as my leap into blogging? We shall see!

Complaining about change only reduces your ability to find the potential profit in it. Writers are not victims, we are explorers.

Janet Hartman said...

Reminds of the Irish saying: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.