Friday, June 22, 2007

Job Imitates Writing Life

I spend a good bit of time posting here about my travel woes and I know you all understand the inconsistency of my schedule given all the travel to different places. There's also a lot of other huge uncertainty in my job. For instance - not only are you dependent on airlines to work correctly, you then land in a strange town, pick up a car (unless you're in NY) and then proceed to try to find your way around somewhere you've never been. And no, they don't allow us to get the GPS. (sigh) The next day begins a new round of classes. More uncertainty. You never know what kind of students you're going to get - smart, tech savy, "I've never seen a mouse" (yikes), people who are glad to convert, people who are mad about converting and are going to tell you all about it because they can take it out on you without being fired. Mostly, I get people who are not overly happy about converting because they're scared. Now, they'd never admit that, but that's exactly where the anxiety comes from

Let's face it - most humans do not like change.

Change is scary. Change is the unknown. Change may bring something good, but rarely do people see that end. Even if they are currently miserable, that form of life is the "devil that they know."

For me, all the uncertainty surrounding my everyday life makes me a stronger writer.


Well, heck, tell me another industry with more uncertainly than publishing. Maybe acting or the movie industry would be the only ones and for exactly the same reasons. Nothing sits still in publishing. Your editor you love could change houses, get married, have a baby, have a nervous breakdown or just burnout. Bam! New editor and you get to learn a new way of doing things all over again. You may have outgrown your current publisher or feel they're going a different direction than you, so you make the change. Bam! Same problem - new editor, new marketing director, new sales force, new art department. Or what about genre? You know how that goes - this is hot one year, that's hot now, you couldn't give this away, that will never sell again. What if your genre takes a falling and you're not yet firmly established in the midlist? I can tell you what happens - either you quit or you re-invent yourself in another genre. Those are really the only two options.

And let's face it - time on the job really means absolutely nothing in this profession. You are only as valuable as your last book. Oh sure, if you were a strong seller before, then you might get allowed one more bad book before they let you go, but don't think those chances go on forever.

The bottom line is this - If you want a career as a writer, you better break out your mental yoga exercises and get REALLY flexible. Change is the name of the game.

1 comment:

Wendy Roberts said...

Amen, Sistah Jana!!

An Austin DesignWorks Production