- by Pati Nagle
Nothing puts me in a worse mood than a crash.
Take a power failure – in our house, it’s always accompanied by a loud “ping” from the smoke detector system going down. Usually followed by me cussing as I’ve lost whatever I was doing on the computer.
But the truth is, it isn’t a catastrophe. I may have lost some changes to a file, or an email I was composing, but I save my work regularly so I don’t often lose more than a few minutes’ worth. Despite my annoyance (not to mention the rush of fear brought on by the fateful “ping”), the electric company eventually restores service, and I can reboot and go back to what I was doing. (I thank my lucky stars that I live in a place with this kind of stability. Not everyone is so fortunate.)
We’ve been living through a reboot the last few months. It’s affected the publishing industry, just like it’s affected most areas of our lives. My editor was laid off. Friends have lost their jobs. Yet the world continues. Things aren’t completely back to normal everywhere, but guess what? Publishing is still galumphing along. It hasn’t ground to a halt. That would be a disaster, but that hasn’t happened. Publishers are still buying books (see Publishers Marketplace – on May 21 they reported 29 new deals). The wheels are still turning.
There has been a lot of anxiety and some panicked talk. A crash frightens everyone. We worry that we aren’t safe.
It looks like the world hasn’t ended this time, though, so it’s time to get back to work.
A writer’s career is full of reboots. I’ve had several already myself (see above: “My editor was laid off.”). They are not the end of the world. They are, sadly, all too normal. I’m learning to take them in stride.
The good news is that 1) things never stopped completely, and 2) we’re starting to see improvements. Economists are daring to whisper that the worst is over. We shall see . . . but I’m hopeful.
And I’m continuing to write, to send out my stuff, and to look forward to publication. As a writer, it’s what I do.