While it’s said that Publishing is an industry built on optimism, it’s often ruled by fear. Writers fear rejection; editors fear acquiring an unsuccessful project; booksellers fear Amazon; everyone fears ebooks; and so on. And ever since I became an agent, I feel like I’ve been more aware of the fearful side of the business than ever before.
If one of the key attractions of agenting is that you work across the publishing spectrum, it seems to come with a similarly broad range of fears. In any given day, agents handle acquisition worries (i.e. whether or not to take on a client), fear of rejection from editors, stress about the future of the industry, and a good dose of personal financial uncertainty, much like our independent bookselling colleagues.
In other words, oy!
But as I logged on to Facebook this morning, I was fortunate that the first post on my wall was this blog from writer Candice Ransom about dealing with fears both in writing and in life. It’s a beautiful piece, perhaps made more so by her stunning photographs. I was particularly struck by her honesty about her new fear concerning time and productivity—it’s a sobering thought, and yet a brave one to acknowledge like this.
Best of all, I appreciate that she offers at least one concrete suggestion for dealing with fear. Has anyone read Writing Past Dark? If so, I’d love to know what you think. One thing that certainly helps me deal with my fears and to get better as an agent is to see how writers manage their own work. So I’d love any suggestions/inspiration you’ve got for how, as Candice puts it, to “face down fear and walk through doors into uncertainty.”