Monday, April 18, 2011

Feeling Small

Publishers Lunch Deluxe arrived in my box on Friday, along with many other news publications I read in my feeble attempt to stay on top of publishing and social networking. I glance at each of them, hoping nothing is pertinent so I can delete it and run to the next one. I boil them down to a handful, which I then study. Invariably I wind up feeling left behind, rushed, and if the info isn't positive, depressed. ((For the free version of Publishers Lunch, see here. )


"Sixty new publishing contracts." - two-book deals, five-figure advances by authors with huge platforms
"Borders Bankruptcy Coming" - bankrutpcy - always a happy topic
"ABC Launches Video E-books" - Seriously, ABC? Plus, I'm just grasping the variety of regular e-books, and you throw a video version at me?
"Blackberry Playbook Tablet Appears to be a Dud" - I didn't know Blackberry had a tablet.

I feel like I'm standing on a subway platform as the train rushes by - everyone on board a serious writer while I'm a wannabe trying to catch a few ideas as the train flies past.

We can become distraught from the changes, successes, failures, innovations and theories. Forecasts drive me crazy, and I skip those because they are just one person's predictions. Since we are in unusual times, who the heck can predict with accuracy?

Go to a conference, for instance, and you  walk away either rejuvenated or demoralized at all the new information. Faculty members tell you all the "musts" you should be doing, or provide ideas that should be added to your to-do list. This person tells you to Tweet. Another says it's not worth it. One tells you how to do well self-publishing, while another says traditional is still the professional way to go. When you're sitting on the fence on all these topics, how do you decide?

What to do?

  • SET A SHORT-TERM GOAL - Set a goal for your writing. What do you wish to accomplish at the end of the month, six months, then a year.
  • SET A LONG-TERM GOAL - If you have been writing for a few years, establish one-year, two-year and three-year goals.
  • SET TIME FOR PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT - Allow yourself a fixed amount of time for personal development, research and study so the vast supply of stories, press releases,  blog posts and idioms don't drive you friggin crazy. Like email, all this self-improvement info can take over your writing life.
  • SET TIME FOR SOCIAL NETWORKING - Posting or reading, limit yourself.
  • READ IN YOUR GENRE - Example is usually the better teacher than how-to material.
  • WRITE. Sometimes we forget why we care about all this information. Remember your real purpose - to write.
You'll never have all the answers, and no matter how much you research, no one will tell you the absolute best way to do whatever it is that drives you nuts. There is no absolute, because the next new guy has a new solution for the latest issue. I know writers who read how-to books and drool over every new one. They build up a writing how-to library, reading everyone's interpretation on how to tackle the profession, and figure that once they'd digested all there is to offer, they'll have all the answers.

Spend time reading and writing. Attend the occasional conference. Read the occasional writer's magazine or blog. But when reading about writing takes up more time than the writing itself, you become a wanna-be who most likely never-will-be.


Mary Ingmire said...

What are those cute little animals?

BECKY said...

Hope, you always say it all, and so eloquently! I couldn't agree with you more! Now...just getting myself to be disciplined.

Stella Jones Myers said...

It seems that every time I need a gentle push to just write and not get tangled in information, you come along with it. I have had the same feelings about standing on the platform and watching the train whizz by as I turn to collect my bags. Thanks for your thoughts.

Hope Clark said...

Not sure what those little animals are. Just saw the pic and loved what it represented. A type of monkey? Marsupial? Precious, aren't they?