Tuesday, April 14, 2015

M is for Mojo

I've lost my mojo. It's one of those days when I'd rather chop the deadheads off my roses than write. One of those days when every sentence needs to be reworked and even the three letter words look like they’re spelled wrong. But now that my roses are pruned to sticks and my garden beds are weed free, it’s time to get my my own head up and my fingers back on the keyboard.  
But I can’t. I’m paralyzed. At times like this, I often go online and I’m rarely disappointed. Here’s some of the inspiration I found today. (The following are quotes stolen from online writing forums--not my own words. Remember, everything that I'm writing today is stupid, mechanically wrong and misspelled, because it's one of those days.)

A few years ago--when digital publishing was but a blip on the radar--I was discussing the future of books with my hubby. He's one of those computer types with all this techie foresight. He said that within several years very, very few books, if any, would be traditionally published. Digital would be the way to go, leaving no need for publishers. The readers will decide what they want to read. (I was surprise by these predictions at the time!)
And then he said... those authors who consistently provide well written books will rise to the top.
So simple, but true.
Consistently provide well written books and your audience will find you!

I think it's like every new thing, first laughed at, then takes off, then swamped, then it stabilizes. It's like most of the rest of the internet, webcomics, forums, cookery sites, and the rest. They all had a point where the market was over saturated for a year or so, then those who just saw it as an easy-in left and it stabilized somewhat. Though I think in the next year or two we might see some interesting attitude changes to e-books.
We'll probably see a lull (or continue to see one), but I think we'll be better off in the end. Books aren't a zero-sum game. We aren't selling houses or cars that last people ten or twenty years or more. A book--even the likes of George Martin's bug squashers--are only good for, at most, a few weeks of entertainment. After that, the reader must go out and find more. And, using Martin as an example, they're not going to wait until the middle of the next decade to read again.

So, the competition might be high and sales might shrink, but I'm optimistic in the long term. As the lines between self-pub, small press, and trad publishing become blurred, people will be more willing to branch out and find the things that interest them, regardless of the source (and so long as it's well-written and to their liking).

Hunker down and get those books written. Expand your front and back lists. The next few years are going to be interesting, I think.

This quote from Dani Shapiro's "Still Writing" gives me solace and inspiration: 

"When writers who are just starting out ask me when it gets easier, my answer is never. It never gets easier. I don't want to scare them, so I rarely say more than that, but the truth is that, if anything, it gets harder. The writing life isn't just filled with predictable uncertainties but with the awareness that we are always starting over again. That everything we ever write will be flawed. We may have written one book, or many, but all we know -- if we know anything at all -- is how to write the book we're writing. All novels are failures. Perfection itself would be a failure. All we can hope is that we will fail better. That we won't succumb to fear of the unknown. That we will not fall prey to the easy enchantments of repeating what may have worked in the past. I try to remember that the job -- as well as the plight, and the unexpected joy -- of the artist is to embrace uncertainty, to be sharpened and honed by it. To be birthed by it. Each time we come to the end of a piece of work, we have failed as we have leapt -- spectacularly, brazenly -- into the unknown

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