Friday, December 05, 2008

Where I am right now

I know, I have not been posting.

This is partly because I continue to be swamped. Today I'm working on my department's Biennial Report to the Legislature, which thankfully this year will not be as boring as that sounds, as we're completely revamping. Of course revamping means "me completely redoing from scratch", but hey. It sounded like a good idea when I volunteered for it. :) I'm also working on final projects for class, *trying* to work on the thesis, and juggling increasing levels of Holiday Stuff. None of which I mind--it's just that I'm busy.

The other reason I haven't been here is that the economy is continuing to suck, and as we all know the publishing industry took a ginormous hit this week. I don't like to talk about negative stuff like that, as I feel that continuing the negative "oh my god" patter just perpetuates the downward cycle. People panic, people cling to their dwindling wads of money, more people get laid off, more people don't have money, etc.

Let's just say that in reading the American Girl Kit Kittredge books with Child this week, the "About Kit's World: The Great Depression" informative bits in the back sounded disturbingly close to today's headlines. And it's soooo easy to let the panic bump up. I've got a book out there in this publishing craziness, trying to find a home. It's easy to *worry worry worry* over every headline of bad news.


I have to realize, control freak that I am, that the publishing industry's survival, and the whole nation's economy, are not in my hands. I can shop as I normally would (I am), I can keep putting money in the stock market (I am), I can give more to those who need it (I am), and I can support the book industry by buying more books (yep, that too). If I look around for ways to help, and I'm doing all those things...what more can I do?

I can keep doing my job, and do it well. All my jobs: the one I'm paid for, and the ones I'm not. Right now writing is one that I'm not yet paid for. That's not a change. I haven't been paid for it for 10 years. I'm not going to stop doing it because the economy's losing its mind. I'm not going to stop putting words on the page, or my butt in the chair, or my passion in the story. Or figuring out ways to do it *better*. Yes, I don't know what's going to happen to my stories on the other end, but right now, that's not my problem.

Panic is useless, and self-feeding. Action, even usual day-to-day "500 new words" or "grocery shopping" action, is positive.

It'll come back up eventually. It HAS to. In the meantime, I've got some work to do.


Joanne Levy said...

I'm with you - trying to keep my head down and just keep on writing.

Instead of panicking, I'm buying more books - the one thing I can control.

Bill Cameron said...

For people whose living is tied to their writing, I can understand panicking. In that regard, I feel kinda lucky, since, while I've been paid a little bit for writing recently, it's been more of the "I'll make an extra car payment this month" level. Writing is still, for me, an avocation. I still have to work for a living.

But I know a few people who quit their jobs this year because they'd reached a point where it looked like their writing careers would support them for the foreseeable future. Now, months after that decision, at least a few of them are wondering if they made the right choice.

In the end, all we can do is ride it out. We make the changes we need to in order to get by, we hope that the market snaps back sooner rather than later, and we keep writing. And, yes, buying books. My shopping this year will be mostly in bookstores.

Susan Adrian said...

Joanne: That's all we can do, what we can control.

Bill: You're right, of course. I'm not panicking because I don't have to, because I'm NOT currently relying on that for income. Lots of people are. I've been laid off before (from Harcourt, actually...hmmm), so I know what all that stress is like. I still think panic is useless, but if you're directly affected it's hard to help it for a while.

courtney said...

I like this entry.
A lot.
Right on.

Travis Erwin said...

I read this when you first posted it and I feel much the same way. I will keep writing, buying books doing what I can. My frustration right now is that my queries and what not are met upturned noses. I don't mean they are being rejected in the traditional sense, I'm used to that, but I either hear nothing back or I get a letter saying my writing is sound and the premise is good, but that it's impossible to place debut fiction right now.

It's been months since I have gotten so much as a nibble asking for more material when the months before that my rate of request for more was right around 40% from agents.

Now the market seems to be shut down completely and I can't do a thing about it. But I have started yet another novel and a creative non-fiction project so I'll keep trying.