Friday, February 8, 2013

Carpe Annum--Can the Smack Talk

I'm  having a blast with the Carpe Annum--Seize the Year! theme. There's a giddiness that comes close to inebriation in letting the shackles fall to the ground, shrugging off the old way of thinking, and following the simple path of your own creation.

I call it a simple path not because it's easy, but because a home-grown path is likely one less riddled with rules, rankle, and recrimination than those created by industry.

My simple path this year includes backing away from all the smack talk that happens in publishing. I'm as tough skinned and opinionated as ever, but instead of yapping my head off online about, for instance, what I think about Jerry Jenkins starting a vanity press where hopeful writers can lay down ten grand to have their book published (ooh, bet ya want to weigh in on that, eh?), I'm saving my energy to forge my own path.

That is what I think is at the root of all the smack talk you hear floating around the industry: different writers making choices about their work and then feeling the need to defend their position.

I'm all for the first part: make your own choices about your work.

Want to vanity publish? Self publish? Keep knocking at the closed doors of traditional publishers? Something in between?

Go. For. It.

As long as you are making the choice you need to make, and you've thought out the long term consequences (inasmuch as that's possible), and you're not motivated by fear--do what you need to do.

Hold the phone.

Fear.

The greatest foe of creativity.

This past week I've done some career stuff that has me pretty afraid. I had to make hard decisions that, while simultaneously fighting a stomach bug, had me shaking in my boots (oh, okay, I'm a writer so I was shaking in my bedroom slippers.)

Fear is everywhere.

Fear of missing that opportunity with that agent.

Fear of messing up a relationship with a publisher.

Fear this. Fear that.

Fear wants you walking on tip-toe, holding your breath.

Fear keeps you focused on the "what if" and the "I can't."

Fear tethers you to the rules that no longer work for you.

Fear will keep you from producing honest work.

Fear begins every sentence with "What will so-and-so think?"

Fear smack talks other people's choices.

Truthfully, it doesn't matter what I think about other people's publishing choices. It's not my decision. The only thing I need to worry about is how to wrestle my fear to the ground. That should take all my creative time and energy and I'll have none left over for dissing other people's walk.

And once I get that sucker under control, I'll be able to look around and see that everyone else is doing the same thing: fighting their fear. And all I will be left with is admiration, and a sense of honour to be among these courageous souls.

Carpe Annum with courage and grace, friends.


16 comments:

Megan Sayer said...

OH YES, AND AMEN!!!!
Well said Bonnie. Bravo!

Josey Bozzo said...

Fear Fear Fear
too much of it, not enough courage
two steps forward, one step back
it rises up at the most inopportune times to strangle me into submission
Makes me regret the words not spoken or written
And yet, I'm afraid to let it go
enemy and friend
affliction and comfort
will there ever be an end?

Marian said...

Carpe Annum. I wrote a 60,000 word novel during NaNoWriMo. When you write about 2,000 words at a time there is no time for fear about the honest, possibly ridiculous stuff that comes gushing out. You rush on creatively, thinking you can always get rid of the questionable, unacceptable, just plain scary stuff that you don't want others to know came from you.

When I read my manuscript in December I was engaged and surprised at what I had written. I actually liked it.

Carpe Annum. I'm posting this manuscript (a slightly edited version of it), bit-by--bit, on my blog. Not because it's perfect, but because I can. I'm hoping for feedback, ways to improve, expand, remodel. Even more, I'm hoping for encouragement to continue writing.

Wendy Paine Miller said...

"I'm saving my energy to forge my own path."

Me too. It takes boatloads of energy and I don't want to waste it on the insignificant.

~ Wendy

Jennifer Major said...

Imagine me standing and yelling "Yeah, Bonnie!!"

10 THOUSAND dollars? Come ON.
WHO has that kind of money?

The enemy flings his net of fear and catches everything he can. Thankfully, Jesus walks on water and can cut the lines and set us free.

What does God say? "Fear not".

Okay, Lord, if You're sure...

Susie Finkbeiner said...

Pesky fear. Always sneaking up on me at the very worst moment.

Bonnie, I think you're really on to something by saying that the fear makes us want to smack talk. My mom always told me that the biggest bully at the school was the most afraid. I don't want to be a publishing world bully. And I don't have time to read the blogs of big bullies either.

I also think that Marian had a GREAT point. She said that she is putting up bits of her story on her blog because she can. That's right. Isn't that the most empowering realization? And the perfect way to embrace Carpe Annum! Seize the Year because We Can!

Bonnie Grove said...

Fantastic comments all. I'm in a rush this AM, but will be back to comment in more detail later in the day.

Camille Eide said...

Brilliant word, Bonnie. Thanks for voicing my fears, and "canning" one of them: the fear that I struggle in this alone.

I confess I'm still knocking on a couple of those closed doors, one last time. And I'm reading up on the indie route as I go door to door, trying not to trip. I should probably look where I'm going, but these days, it's getting harder to see much.

Bonnie Grove said...

Megan: Gee, thanks.

Josey: Fear AND a poem. Well done, and thank you for sharing your thoughts. I like the fact that you point out we view fear as both foe and friend. It serves a purpose and we'd all do well to examine what purpose fear is serving in our professional lives.

Marian: Congratulations! A massive accomplishment to churn out 60,000 words in one month. Love your moxie.

Bonnie Grove said...

Wendy: There's so much that needs to be done. :)

Jennifer: I think I heard you yelling from way over there. Snow must carry the sound far.

Susie: Yes, well said. Carpe Annum because we can. Dang straight.

Camille: We're cheering you on as you knock. Maybe a door will open just to find out what all the noise and ruckus is about and then whoever opens the door will find charming you on the stoop.

Cherry Odelberg said...

Fear - for over 50 years my closest companion and enemy - well, sometimes I let others get a little bit closer.

I could not agree more with your explanation, "making choices about their work and then feeling the need to defend their position."

We must each, as fearlessly and honestly as possible be the person we are meant to be and do what our heart says to do.

Cherry Odelberg said...

Way to go, Marian and Josey. Curing the fear with a poem and and action - just write.

Henrietta Frankensee said...

I love Novel Matters because there is nary a whiff of smack talk. There is only encouragement and strengthening faith. And wholehearted, straightforward, impartial instruction.
Thank you Bonnie for naming the enemy so boldly and gathering the troops so tightly, shoulder to shoulder. We believe in each other and in the Author who has already won our freedom.

Henrietta Frankensee said...

Hey Everybody! I just read Marian's story on her blog - all 12 parts that are posted. I highly recommend you do the same. Thank you Marian! Your courage is inspirational.

Bonnie Grove said...

Cherry: It's the only way to make art. True that.

Henrietta: Neat image. Thanks. And yes, head over to Marian's blog to read her story. The brave woman put it out there just for such a thing.

angiewebb said...

Great post Bonnie. I know that God uses your words to speak to others, and I am thankful for your openeness. I have always struggled with fear and write about my journey on my blog. I enjoyed the BLOG HOP..