It’s been almost exactly two weeks since I wrote “LTB–and a lot more.”
That post noted some of the reasons I’ve done very little contemplative or really new writing in the last six weeks or so–and am likely not to do very much of it for the next month (or so). That’s not entirely true: I did a future edition of “disContent” that I’m quite pleased with and I’ve been generating (and editing, and organizing) content for the Library Leadership Network. But the longer essays–whether contemplative or synthetic (that is, synthesizing from various posts)–weren’t happening.
During those two weeks, I did put out an issue of Cites & Insights. That issue should be a real bargain: It has the most important sections of two $29.50 books about library blogs, all yours for $0. It also has some notes on readership over the first two million words of C&I. So far, I can’t say that the issue has either aroused any obvious interest or even achieved the usual first-half-week level of downloads and readership, but these things (can) take time.
The inspiration for this post is John Scalzi’s post “I Got Nothing” at his blog Whatever. Inspiration, that is–not parallel. Scalzi’s post concerns the fact that he has only one book in the publishing pipeline, with no other books under contract. For Scalzi, a successful and award-winning science fiction writer, this could be cause for concern–but, as he notes, it’s also an occasion to try new things…with no books he has to work on.
The situation here is not parallel. I’m not suggesting that I’m remotely in Scalzi’s league as a writer. I’m also not suggesting that anywhere near as many people would care (his posts get lots of comments, generally quite interesting ones–and he posts fairly regularly. For example, this post, which went up five hours ago as I write this, already has 35 comments–and doubtless more when any of you go to it).
But Scalzi’s post, and title, did encourage me to look at my own situation…and wonder.
Maybe it’s not just moving?
Yes, moving is disruptive–and when it’s from one house you’ve lived in for 11 years to another 30 miles away, when incidents add to the confusion (thanks to a misstep just as we started looking for the first time at the house we believe we’re buying, my wife’s hobbling around with a hairline fracture–since then and for the next month or so: as she says, she fell for the house), when you’re dealing with a truly strange real estate “market,” and when you factor in California’s, and especially Santa Clara County’s, increasingly extensive paper trail…well, it’s really disruptive for a very long time.
[An aside: Supposedly, local realtors are “going paperless”–but I’d say there’s at least twice the paperwork there was 11 years ago, including incredibly detailed disclosure forms. We’ve spent hours just initialing and signing form after form after form…and, if I didn’t have an all-in-one printer so we could print out “faxed” PDFs, sign them, scan them back in and attach them to email, I don’t see how we could get through this at all–we’d be driving out to Livermore twice a day. I know our buying agent and selling agent will each give us a CD at close of escrow with copies of all the paperwork–but meanwhile, I’d swear we have more than half a ream of paper for the purchase transaction, and almost that much for the sale.]
But…well, I can’t honestly say that move-related stuff is occupying all my afternoons and evenings. Even as we start packing toward the actual move, deciding on a mover, contacting utilities (and, later, the post office, bank, magazines, credit card companies, IRS, etc., etc., etc.), all that stuff should take less than half the time I’d normally devote to writing-related work.
Work that, other than some column-related effort, isn’t really happening. If I sit down to start on an essay, even one that grows by bits & pieces (e.g., Trends & Quick Takes), I find myself checking FriendFeed, checking email, then going off for a nap…and reading a magazine or exercising or going for a walk.
Which makes me wonder whether the move isn’t a convenient catchall for something else…
In recent years, I’ve said I’d keep on writing as long as (a) people want to read what I have to say and (b) I find it interesting & worthwhile to do so.
Right now, I’m a little uneasy on both counts. With luck, this too shall pass…
No quick decisions
Once again, I’m not doing anything (including not doing anything, if that makes sense) in any great hurry.
As to “the four projects,” no decision yet–although I guess the second possibility (library blogs) is dead in the water, along with sales for the books. (Short-term lesson in Andersonomics: Giving away the meat of the two library blog books has, to date, resulted in zero, count them, 0 sales of either book. But, you know, T-shirts at my author’s reading concerts are doing just fine…)
Unless there’s a sudden change in attitude, there’s a good chance the June C&I will consist of a reformatted version of the first 121 pages of The Liblog Landscape 2007-2008, which would probably yield a slightly large but not immense issue (I’m guessing 32 to 42 pages, depending on how I handle figures)–in other words, everything except the individual blog profiles. That book’s completely flatlined at this point as well, with no sales in at least three weeks (50 total to date), so we’ll see what giving (most of) it away does for sales or at least readership.
After that–we shall see. I’ve got lots of material ready to work on. (I’d still like to carry forward the Liblog Landscape study another year–I’m just not sure I can justify the effort on any basis, including “the good of the profession.”) The creative juices could start flowing again most any time…
Or the sense could grow that I’ve become an “old mind” that people are tired of hearing from, that my style of thinking and writing doesn’t have much place in Today’s Library Field and that I should just let it go.
Right now, I got nothin’.