From Kristine Kathryn Rusch:
I come to the end of 2015 dog tired. Not stressed, like I was in 2013 and 2014. Plain good old-fashioned tired.
. . . .
At this time last year, I wrote several pieces at year end about the state of the publishing industry. I had hoped to do the same this year. I woke up on Christmas Eve, and realized it was the end of December—which meant the end of 2015—and what with the health issues, the travel, the marathon book, and some changes in two of the other businesses we own—I hadn’t been paying attention to the publishing industry as a whole. I thought about cramming, but I had left some other projects for year end (one anthology to edit and four short stories to write—eek!), and I wanted some time off (we all need to see Star Wars,right?).
I didn’t have time for cramming on the industry.
But I did want to talk about the year end. I wanted to look forward as well. In doing so, I decided to read some of the blog posts other people have written about the state of their writing careers in December of 2015, and the plans they have for 2016.
I discovered a theme. And ironically, it was the same thing that Dean and I had been discussing.
. . . .
I said to Dean as we were planning our 2016, “I need some time to write, to be alone with my creativity, to just think about new stories, experiment, and focus on the writing, not on being a business person.”
Note the word focus. I didn’t say I was going to give up doing the business stuff and the business research. In fact, as I was reading the year end blogs, I made some notes of business things I wanted to do in the future for my own writing.
For the past four years, though, I have worked on building several businesses that are not my writing. Some involve my writing in a peripheral manner, and one publishes much of what I do (although not all of it—still hybrid, still proud of it), but none of them are writing-only.
How do I plan my writing?
I don’t. I write. Planning my writing is a business strategy. Writing is what I do and what I love.
. . . .
Over the past week, as I’ve relaxed into the idea of writing as my focus, I find my brain exploring ideas it was too preoccupied to consider in the past four years. I see that as a good sign.
What I find fascinating is that as I click through the blogs of friends, peers, and colleagues, I discover a similar sentiment. It’s not just Joe [Konrath] who stressed writing, but other writers as well.
. . . .
Our industry has changed phenomenally since 2009. Joe posted his resolutions for the past several years in that blog, and some of them are true blasts from the past.
What we’ve been doing is inventing a new way to go about being writers. In the past, the path was stable. If you wanted to get published, you had to go through gatekeepers. And if you wanted a career as a published writer, you needed a lot of resilience and creativity to survive inside a system that was hostile to your creativity and your needs.
The new world isn’t actively hostile, but it is difficult. And why shouldn’t it be? We’re working on an international level.
But one of the degrees of difficulty we’ve been dealing with since 2009 is that the new system hadn’t stabilized yet. Things changed, sometimes weekly, and those of us who jumped into indie publishing from the beginning were constantly revising expectations as well as ways of doing things. Even the kinds of files we had to upload for ebooks changed, and changed again, and then changed again. The files haven’t stabilized yet, but the rate of change (at least in that area) has slowed immensely.
We all had incredible learning curves, and we worked with each other—sharing information on blogs and in person—trying to figure out not only what worked best for the readers, but what worked best for us.
Most of us became what I call outer-directed. We focused on things outside of our writing and, for some folks, to the detriment of their writing.
Well, the industry is stabilizing. It hasn’t stabilized entirely, but it’s not going through such a rapid state of change either. We can actually envision parts of the publishing future.
And that has allowed writers to breathe. As we breathe, we realized—hey, I want to write more. I want to be creative, not in marketing or cover design, but in making up and living in imaginary worlds.
Link to the rest at Kristine Kathryn Rusch
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