Staying positive amid the negativity

I know things are tough in media.  I know freelancers are struggling to get assignments and make ends meet.  Seems like everyone is having a bit of a slog, except maybe some of those executives who did such a nice job of melting down the global economy and pocketing big bonuses for doing it.


The more I listen to the negativity, though, the more difficult it is for me to act.  But unless I act, I won’t get an assignment or a book deal or any of the other things that fulfill me and pay the light bill.  Yes, budgets have been cut, editors are less responsive, no one knows what will happen next.  Recognizing those facts helps you realize that the rejections are not all about you.  It’s nothing personal, kid; there’s just no money in the bank.


And yet there is still the pesky light bill, and the less pesky need to do fulfilling work.  I don’t want to discount the suffering that people are going through, and I’m not excluding myself from the people who are suffering, but at some point the negativity stops being a reality check and starts being a drain, an excuse to not do anything.  Editors are less responsive is one truth.  Publishers still need to publish books is another truth.    


In times like these, we turn to our friends and families, our communities, to support us.  But it’s important to be sure that at least some of the people who surround you encourage and support your efforts, and don’t just constantly whine about the state of the industry and tell you not to quit your day job. 


Get involved in a writing community that will help you understand what you could be doing better, and that will help you understand what makes writers succeed.  If the community turns out to be negative or hypercritical, leave.  Find a new community. Sometimes the “community” can be one other writer you meet for lunch or coffee once a week or once a month.  But don’t spend all of the time sharing horror stories.  In times like these, when we’re battling especially high winds, we need to have at least a little faith that we’ll survive.  Let’s help each other find that faith.