Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Guest Blogger Jody Wallace - Career Stagnation


Career stagnation -- who doesn't dread it? (Rhetorical answer to rhetorical question: people w/out careers) This can happen when you've never managed to get anywhere; or you've gotten somewhere and gotten stuck; or you've gotten somewhere, had a setback, and now feel like you're starting over...unsuccessfully.

The other day my horoscope said I should try new things if I wanted to see a change in my life. (Want a cleaner house? How about cleaning it!) With a writing career this can be good advice or bad advice, depending. If you maintain the same efforts--provided you're making sufficient effort—you may be two weeks from an agent, a publishing deal, a best-seller. You may be already doing exactly what you need to do to get where you want to go, and changing your strategy could ruin a good thing that just hasn't panned out yet. It cannot be said enough times: publishing isn't a career for the impatient. (A better career for the impatient is probably firefighter or ER doctor. Then you're HAPPY when there's nothing to do.)

On the other hand, what's the definition of insanity that's been attributed to everyone from Einstein to Ben Franklin? "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." So you've been at this for years, chasing the dream, working your tail off, sacrificing family time and me-time and money and you've gotten exactly...bupkis (I always thought that was buttkiss, but it's not, it's bupkis, which means goat poop in Yiddish). Are you insane? (Another rhetorical question...you are not insane.) Do you want this to define you as well? (Yet another rherotical question...and I should probably can it with the rhetorical questions at this point, don't you think? AHHH! Not another one! I can't believe I asked a rhetorical question when I was advising myself to quit asking rhetorical questions.) So when things stop moving and grooving, isn't it smart to push and kick them from a different angle? (I'm thinking heavy object.) Or tempt them with something besides a carrot? (Now I'm thinking mule.) Or maybe even grease the rails? (Now I'm thinking bribes.)

It's a tough decision. There are only 24 hours in the day, and a certain proportion of those must be devoted to things like sleeping, eating and taking care of one's body. (Unavoidable, no matter what people say.) If you neglect your health, not only will your hours in the day be limited by illness after a while, but your years of life might wind up limited as well. The remaining hours get divvied between jobs, family, household, and whatever else you've got going on. Assuming you've got your time filled and not frittered (Fritters, btw, are not goat droppings but are deliciously deep fried food items, so what fritters have to do with wasting time, I don't know), anything you add to your plate, when trying something new career-wise, might mean something else gets pushed off your plate. (Like housecleaning. Boo! Who needs fresh sheets on the bed every day or a floor clean enough to eat off of? No, don't look at me like that, that's not a rhetorical question. Seriously, who does need a floor that clean?)

That balance will be unique to you (housecleaning? no housecleaning?), so if you decide to shake things up, make sure you take your own life and career into account. Don't try to follow another writer's path simply because he or she appears to be in a place you think would suit you quite well, thank you very much.

Not even if that place has maid service.

Jody Wallace

So much cyberspace, so little time!

www.jodywallace.com / www.meankitty.com

PS Thanks to my horoscope and, I admit it, some impatience, I am shaking things a little these days by releasing backlist and short fic myself. So far I've got a little ditty called "Cooley's Panther" on Smashwords (https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/48041), Kindle (http://www.amazon.com/Cooleys-Panther-ebook/dp/B004S7MIHE) and B&N (http://search.barnesandnoble.com/books/product.aspx?ean=2940012246820 ). The only thing that's fallen off my plate with the added responsibilities is housecleaning. Oh, wait...that was already off my plate, and my plate is the last clean one in the house. How about you?

8 comments:

Meg Benjamin said...

Hi Jody, welcome to the Naughty Nine. I can't tell you how much I love this post! Hope your self-publishing is wildly successful.

Writer and Cat said...

Thanks, Meg! I'll try not to make any rhetorical comments for awhile...

Cathy in AK said...

Don't try to follow another writer's path simply because he or she appears to be in a place you think would suit you quite well...

You hit it right on the head with that one, Jody! We're all dealing with life (and sticky floors) in a number of ways. No one can say this is the right way for you because no one has *your* life. So we do our best with what we have and see what comes of it. Some paths are longer and more arduous than others.

Oh, and everyone should read "Cooley's Panther." It's a fun little story : )

Monica McCabe said...

I always attribute change to the good side. It keeps things fresh, makes your brain work, and opens new doors. So go ahead shove something off that plate. Mix it up & try something different.

Inserting favorite quote here...

~ You'll never find new horizons without the courage to lose sight of the shore.

Don't know who said it, but it sure sounds like something Cap'n Jack Sparrow would say!

Oh, and I agree with Cathy in AK...Cooley's Panther is a great story!

Kelly Jamieson said...

I am trying everything new I can think of! Good luck with the self publishing and great post Jody!

Erin Nicholas said...

Welcome Jody! Great post! I agree with every word (including the confusion over what fritters have to do with wasted time *G*). Erin

Skylar Kade said...

Jody, thanks for the great post! What a wonderful reminder. I think, to mix things up, I'm going to read something outside the romance genre--all I've picked up lately has been one genre.

Thanks for visiting!

Writer and Cat said...

Thanks, everyone! My change for the day is going to be "Camp Grandma"! Not that I'll get any WORK done at Camp Grandma but she usually doesn't expect me to clean house, either...