Monday, August 15, 2011

Divining a Doctrine

...that we henceforth be no more like children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine...                                       Ephesians 4:14
No, I’m not getting all religious on you, I just thought that quote from Ephesians was apt, and will maybe get me listed in some different search engines, like Godgle and Ask Jesus.

(Wouldn’t you know, after coming up with that joke, I found out that Ask Jesus is an actual web site.)
But my point is, with the once-stable publication industry now shifting under our feet, and different theories about how writers should react to it careening about like sugar-crazed toddlers at a fun fair, it’s hard to not get carried away, thinking one thing one minute, and another the next.
In reading various articles over the past few weeks, I’ve become convinced that traditional publication is the way to go, and then that only an idiot would consider it, that social media is an absolute must, and then that it is a time-suck to be avoided, that I should be concentrating solely on Amazon sales, and then that the other eBook outlets are every bit as important. My plans for the future, it seems, rest on whichever article I have most recently read, and that is no way to plot a career.
In the old days (say, about 18 months ago) the path was well-defined. The way to publication was rocky and treacherous, but it was stable. Likewise, the ‘alternative’ route—the broad, smooth way, paved with stones from the Good Intentions Construction Company—led to a place no real writer wanted to go; as it always had been and forever would remain, amen. But now the paths are inexplicably merging and the temptation to step off of the rocky trail onto the smooth slip road is becoming harder and harder to resist, especially when those further ahead are telling us that the wide road leads to a better place.
So I’ve been, shall we say, a bit distracted. Oh, I had good intentions: I did set alarms to keep me on track, as I promised I would, and I did my best to make peace with social networking, but I kept sliding deeper into frustration.
Despite the alarms, I would keep hammering away at the social networks, determined to get at least one tweet, post or comment out in the allotted time. I rarely did, which did absolutely nothing to assist my marketing efforts and merely assured that I would start each day off with a magnificent FAIL. Only then would I attempt to write (‘attempt’ being the operative word). After a time I gave up attempting. Then I gave up social networking.
This wasn’t an altogether bad thing; sitting and doing nothing for a few days gave me time to reflect. Soon enough, the answer came, as it always does: it’s all about the writing.
As a writer, I should be writing; tweeting, commenting, posting or working up graphics for my next book ad are all secondary. The writing is the thing, working on THIS book, not the last one, not the next one. By making that the center of my day, all the rest will fall into place.
So, after weeks of angst and soul-searching, I have decided on this as my definitive doctrine. Until I read another article.

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