Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Dear Publishing Industry: I'm not afraid of you. Nobody's reading? Wait, they are, but it's all e-books about celebrity kung-fu vampires who do nothing but score with each other? And every publishing house is folding because six-year-olds with Twitter accounts are signing contracts to publish cell phone novels?

I'm putting my fingers in my ears. LALALALA I can't hear you.

Dear Rough Draft: You think I am intimidated by the way you take 90,000 words to say nothing of substance? Oh boo hoo, I'm broken-hearted because I wrote 1061 words this morning and they were -- sniff -- almost all useless! Wah! Wah! LALALALA I can't hear you.

Dear Creative Muse: Do you think you can hide forever? I WILL FIND YOU.

Here is my trick: emotional judo. According to Pink Panther movies and 80s cartoons, judo means turning your enemy's attack against him. Not by blocking a flurry of kicks or nunchuks or whatever, but simply by leaning and flowing. Going with it, you might say.

Example: My rough draft is a shambling horror? Great! It's supposed to be. Mission accomplished, what's next?

The publishing industry is eating its own young? What, am I supposed to stop writing? I can't. Write more? I can't. Faster? Impossible. Write something different? No. So what am I supposed to do other than shake my head, accept it, and move on.

Judo. Acceptance.

That, and stick my fingers in my ears. LALALALALA!


Laini Taylor said...

Agh, all the grim and horrible news! Six-year-olds selling cell phone novels: snort! I am still HORRIFIED by that little boy's advice book on girls. AGH! And it's getting made into a movie! I may be wrong about this, but what a recipe for growing a disaster of a young man: make him famous for his relationship prowess at the age of 9, or whatever.

Good luck sallying forth with the nightmare that is a first draft. Can't wait to read it when it becomes a book :-)

rebecca said...

I'm convinced writers love pain. We must because otherwise nothing else makes sense. I like the way you wrote this and yes, I hear publishing houses are folding and, yes, i hear that it's even harder to get published by a house than ever before therefore e-publish yourself. but, i don't pay attention to that. with all of the books i can find online i still READ ACTUAL BOOKS. i love going to bookstores and feeling the books in my hands, opening them, reading to see if it makes a connection; i like reading ANYTHING other than celebrity-dishes and I'm not alone; i like the quiet, zen-like state i get at these places than no amount of computer time can do for me; i like being able to grab a book or some magazines and walk over to the cafe area and peruse while drinking coffe. Yes, I love books. Continue on your path and write what your heart dictates. Because there is a whole faction of us out here that prefer books to online versions and there is a reader for every single genre.

S R Wood said...

Thanks, Laini and Rebecca. My choices seem to be complain and get back to work, or complain and stop. I'll take the first!

Laini -- You have just made me realize that the cartoon "Sally Forth" is based on an actual phrase and not just somebody's name. And thanks for the encouragement!

Rebecca -- Sometimes I think I love pain, other times I think I just need it. But either way it seems to be an intrinsic part of creation. And yes, there's a magic to books, isn't there? Sometimes I wonder if new books just don't smell the same, from a pure, inhaling-the-pages sort of way, as old classics. I guess when you think about all the hands that opened and read them with love or disdain or any sort of emotion, all the lives they touched, it makes sense that there's a sort of patina that old books get.