You know an industry is in a state of existential questioning when conferences pop up all over the place and are attended en masse.
Jane Morrow, Beatrice Davis Editorial Report 2011-12
I immediately wrote the above quote down while doing research for a writing piece I was working on over a month ago and it has lived with me ever since. For a little context, this particular report was on the observations made about the state of the US publishing industry – specifically the movements in digital publishing – and how things are currently looking in that respect (still pretty intuitive and dependent on the publisher, if you’re wondering).
It’s somewhat fitting, I guess, in some way – let’s throw in some irony while I’m at it – that I’ll be attending a blogging conference these next couple of days. This will make my fourth this year. I often get asked ‘All these conferences on the same subject – don’t you all end up speaking, or listening, to the same people talk about the same things?’ Yes and no. Those same people, I will add, are often being deliberately provocative, as these things are never as cut-and-dried as that and they know this full well.
On the other hand, they often are the occasions when decisions are made (or at least, heavily pondered). If not at the time then the weeks afterwards. This time, more than any other I can think of, this applies to me.
We’re coming close to the end of the year. In the very near future I will need to make some very specific, not to mention large, decisions when it comes to the nature of writing/blogging. I have lots of ideas as to what I would like to do, not to mention have thought of the ways and means by which they could be done. That’s just the problem, I guess. I have never, ever had a lack of ideas: they come to me all the time. I just don’t have the physical (or fiscal!) resources to make them come about. Before, I had the kids being at home, and my being home with them, and these both were big contributing factors to ‘how things rolled’. But they’re in school now. And I’m feeling more confident about my own skills and attributes than I did, say, twelve or twenty-four months ago.
Decisions, though. They’re hard for me. Ask anyone who I’ve been out to dinner when I’m the last one to place my order because I just can’t choose if I feel like fish or chicken. It’s an anxiety thing, mostly.
So when I write posts such as this, it makes me nervous. Being vulnerable is nerve-wracking; as is spending a day or more with hundreds of people you don’t know at conferences for that matter. A lot of it is timing, too. I’m proofing my book at the moment. The range of emotions that experience triggers is equally exhausting.
Maybe I just need a really good nap.