Anxious? Unless you live in a cave you have been bombarded with negative, anxiety-producing information of late. In less than one hour of listening to news today, I heard more doomsday-type news than a body can stand. The icecaps are melting. Animals are becoming extinct at a frightening rate. Politics gets uglier each day. Plastic straws may spell the demise of our oceans. The sky is falling. Oh yes, and we have a new pandemic to worry about.
And how about publishing? Not a day goes by without a discussion of the demise of publishing as we know it. Authors are getting lower and lower advances. Publishers aren’t promoting the books they contract anymore. If an author’s sales figures aren’t up to par, he’ll never get another contract. Kids aren’t reading anymore. No one’s willing to pay for a book these days. Information should be free. Brick and mortar stores are a thing of the past. I could go on and on, but I’ll let you fill in the rest. It would seem the publishing sky is falling as well.
What I want to tell you is this: Don’t believe everything you hear.
I won’t even take time to unwind the bad news I led with. Yes, there may be some truth in each report, but it’s skewed toward the negative because it makes a far more compelling story. It’s the same with publishing. Bad news rules. Anxious is the new black.
Colleagues all across the industry have noted a sense of anxiety from authors. We know what authors are talking about in their circles– what they’re reading in blog posts and industry magazines. Their questions reveal the anxiety. When will I get my next sale? Is anyone still buying? If my numbers aren’t good, will I ever have another chance? Do publishers even care about publishing good books? Is anyone interested in promoting a new author, or are they just fighting for the same handful of tried-and-true authors? The zeitgeist fairly sizzles with negativity.
Don’t believe everything you hear. The greatest danger is self-fulfilling prophecy. If we keep saying something long enough, we begin to believe it. As my sweet mother used to say, “Snap out of it!”
- Focus on the work. You are a writer–an artist. Worry steals all creativity.
- Stop listening to the dementors. Remember those creatures from Harry Potter? Dementors feed on positive emotions, sucking the very joy out of their victims. If you are hanging with naysayers, walk away. Just say no.
- It’s too easy to become suspicious of those in the industry–publishers, agents, editors. The trouble is, you’ll end up finding exactly what you are seeking. If you look for good and honorable, you’ll find good and honorable. If you seek to demonize, you’ll find plenty of examples. Pollyanna? Maybe, but it’s no less true.
- We need to stop becoming anxious over the unknown. We may not know what the future holds, but we know who holds the future.
Chime in. Do you have some truths to help dispel anxiety?