I yearn for those days when kids still played baseball after school until dark, or we could spend an afternoon lying on the grass watching clouds scuttle across the sky. Our best writing came after daydreaming in a swing, drinking iced tea and staring into space. Now we feel guilty if we spend five minutes daydreaming in the shower.
Today writers network instead. We’re consummate multi-taskers. Some of you set timers on your cell phones or watches to remind yourself to sign off Facebook or stop Tweeting how many pages you’ve produced.
We’re addicted to social networking, e-mail, and a thousand other ways to postpone the inevitable: starting at a blank page. Hemingway used actual paper. Imagine that. We use a computer screen with a blinking cursor that silently screams “hurry up.”
Yet I know writers who are able to balance their marketing, sales, and networking efforts while giving birth to another manuscript. I’m amazed. They can produce two or three books a year. I’m even more amazed.
We’re writing what the market wants to read. But, just for a moment, think about this: What if you decided to write a book that you wanted to write . . . one that continually nudged you over the course of years? Maybe God wants you to produce the next great American novel rather than write something in a popular genre.
A few agents and editors want to slap me about now. Because once you’re in the game of publishing, you will be expected to churn out at least one or two books a year to satisfy your audience.
After agent Rachelle Gardner recommended Betsy Lerner’s book The Forest for the Trees, I ordered it and just finished it last night. I highly recommend it; you will find yourself between its covers.
In the last chapter Lerner writes, “Publishers are concerned that the business model that has long served their business will no longer work. All this is disheartening for writers. It’s no wonder that some are tweeting for their supper. . . . I fear that we are dancing on the deck of the Titanic.”
But you know me: I look at life from the perspective of a glass half-full. Publishing is changing, and no one in the business (CBA or ABA) has figured out where it’s going or what to do about it. Remember that old cliché that if you’re digging a hole and it’s only getting deeper, stop?
This is day #8 in our 30-day prayer challenge for the Christian publishing industry. We can’t go back to the lazy days of the fifties. As authors and publishers we need to embrace the digital age. It’s here to stay.
But frankly, I think if publishing execs spent a little more time daydreaming, they might just find the way out of this mess. What do you think?
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This is day #8 in my 30-day prayer challenge for the Christian book industry. Please share your prayers and thoughts with us in the comment section below.