Ignoring Thunderdome

I honestly spend very little time thinking about the future of the publishing industry. I find the blank page intimidating enough as it is, and I don’t need additional reasons to feel insecure about what I’m doing.

I try to avoid news about who is merging with whom or what Mrs. Megapublisher’s stance is on digital rights because I know what would happen if I ever started down that particular rabbit hole. My eyes would be opened to a larger reality that would do nothing to instill confidence in my aspirations. In turn, I would feel the need to exhaustively search for as much positive news as I could, stories about how it’s not nearly as difficult to break in as I had feared.

(For the record, I equate the difficulty of reaching and maintaining success in publishing somewhere on the order of surviving Thunderdome.)

I would pretend that all of this research would be worthwhile. After all, I want to be a professional writer, and I need to understand the landscape of the industry. Right?

Maybe. But that’s wouldn’t be the real reason I was Googling and reading and chugging massive quantities of Diet Dr. Pepper.

In truth, it would all be an exercise in fear. Not fear of the publishing industry, but fear of the act of writing itself.

I don’t need additional distractions. I already want to run away from the blank page every time I sit down. Even if I know what the chapter or story is about and I have a decent outline, typing that first sentence can sometimes feel like stepping off a cliff. (And sometimes the idea of just stepping off a literal cliff seems preferable to slogging through another book that people may or may not like.)

I’m not saying my aversion to staying abreast of the publishing industry is a good strategy for everyone. Hell, I’m not even saying it’s a viable one for me. I just know how my mind works. If I take that deep dive and begin educating myself before I am ready, I will become overwhelmed, I will become disheartened, and I will want to quit.

So instead, I say, “Fuck it.”

Learning about the big, bad publishing world is not my job right now. I know just enough to get by, so instead I focus on crafting a decent tale, one that people like or at least appreciate. And I work on making my prose progressively less shitty.

Like a twelve-stepper, I take it one day at a time. I try to have faith that if I cobble together a good enough story it will eventually find a home, and everything else will take care of itself. If not, well, then my stupid ass shouldn’t have been in Thunderdome in the first place.

Larry Jenkins is an aspiring Word Pimp. Has laptop, will travel. Let's make this happen, people.

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