Wednesday, November 7, 2012

ABC's of Writing - (O)ptimism Will Carry You A Long Way

For those of you who follow this blog, some of the things I say today may seem to be a bit of a contradiction to earlier posts, but please, bear with me on this. I want to talk today about the power of optimism in writing.

There are a lot of things out there in publishing that can truly bring a writer's mood down pretty fast! Publishers merging and publishers not buying. Professional writing organizations fighting amongst themselves over membership restrictions. Agencies closing doors to submissions. Royalty rates and advances not being what they used to be. I could really go on and on with this. These ideas are pretty discouraging to a writer. As an agent, and I know other agents have probably felt this before, there are times that I have said to myself "What is the point? I should just shut the doors to the agency and use that time for something with my family or for myself."

And yet, we have to look to the real reasons we have jumped into this ugly business of publishing. There is a joy of creation and invention. We love the time we spend creating characters and scenes.

We have to take some time and be a bit more of an optimist when it comes to publishing.

As I look at this business and see the negatives out there, I often have to slow down and realize that it might not look good now, but things will change.

Publishers might not be buying right now at the level they did in the past, but this does not mean they are closing their doors like some of the pundits try to push. The economy isn't at its best right now. Spending money on projects that are "maybe's" is just too big of a risk. Besides, we have several publishers in the recent past that have gone under because of that risky approach. Publishers will start buying again.

The excitement over e-publishing will die down some and the in-fighting over which approach is better will stop, or at least slow some. Look, e-publishing is like that toy we get at Christmas. For those first few days, this is the only toy to be played with. And then we slow down with it. It doesn't go away. It may still be a great toy. But it is not the center of the world.

Now don't get me wrong. Digitial media is not going away, but the optimist in me says that once publishers really figure out how to make the digital media work beyond simply a new "hype", writers will be able to really work it into their own writing.

There really is a fine line we are walking here with this whole optimism thing. We can actually take it too far with a Pollyanna approach and ignore the realities of what is happening around us. We don't want to go that far. I know that, I for one, am still a very hard core realist. But I am also someone who is not going to let those slow moments in writing and those bumps in the road keep me from seeing things a bit more in a positive light.

For today, let's really take some time to see the good in what we are doing with publishing. Let's look at our writing as something that IS good.

Who knows what might happen from that change in thought.



  1. Thank you, Scott. For me, as a conservative, this is even more of a good day to keep OPTIMISM in mind. (Although it seems a bit useless just now in certain ways! O_o )

  2. Change always brings a few wrinkles, and we can either throw up the sail for more adventure, or toss the anchor over. Either way, we're bound to thrive if we keep a chin up.