December 17th, 2008

Carrie Now

Fear and Publishing

So, this week I'm posting about FEAR and how it relates to writers.

I was going to make it all about craft. However, it seems like I don't have much of choice except to write a little bit about the publishing industry, because well... everybody is talking about it.


Houses are restructuring.
People are being terminated.
There are rumors of chain stores closing.
People are panicking.

So, let me explain: We are writers. Writers are good at panic. We want all our facts. We imagine horrible scenarios. We create plots and intrigue and death and devastation.

That is what we do. We are writers. We make things up.

Sometimes the things we make up are scary. Note: The demon guy is the scary we writers make up.

And in this case we're terrified of what the economy and publishing house changes and all of it might mean to us. Now, I tried to write an inspiring post last week. It's here if you want to check it out. Today, however, I'm going to have to yell at people.

1. Writing is a business, yes, but it also an art. If you care only about the business side of writing ... well, I probably want to read your books. If you care only about making money by writing... well, I probably don't want to read your books either.

2. The rest of us writers (published and not-yet published) care about business and money but we also care about craft and communication. We want to make the best books we possibly can make. What's happening in the publishing world shouldn't change that.

I know it's scary to hear about restructuring and lowered advances and if you haven't been published yet you might think "OH COFFEEPOT CHARLIE!  I AM NEVER GOING TO GET PUBLISHED NOW. DAMN! DAMN! DAMN!" 
          It doesn't mean that. DO NOT GIVE UP!

Did Buffy the Vampire Slayer let her fear win? No... She did not. And she faced vampires, baby (thus, her name). So go get your crossbows and tell that fear to shove it.  Note: The Pen is the crossbow.

3. As writers we have to face the fear that our industry is falling down on us and then give it a giant middle finger (Or just yell "POOPY TO YOU" if you aren't that crass).

And the next thing we have to do?

We have to write our stories. We have to write the stories we are meant to tell. We have to write the stories that are fun and poignant, vuglar and wild, sweet and quiet. We have to face our fears of failure, of silence, and write, write write!

Honestly, this isn't the time for moaning. This is the time for banding together like the Scooby Gang and helping each other not only write the best stories we can, but encouraging each other, and buying each other's books. That's the best way to face your fears. You do something. You write. You buy books. You write more. You just do it. You just buck up and face your fears down and in doing that you make a change.

The Scooby Gang didn't just let zombies take over the amusement park. You bet your Scooby snakcs they didn't. Instead they banded together (except for when they spilt up to confuse the zombies and make more exciting plot turns) and they helped each other and they figured things out and they faced their fears and created more and more stories to tell their grandchildren. Note: The Scooby Gang is us, the writers.