In the business world they’re calling it “The Great Resignation” when employees are deciding to create a better work-life balance for themselves and moving into new positions or leaving them all together. There’s a lot involved in this, more policy and procedures to unpack, and well beyond the scope of talking about all things writing and publishing. But something that’s been on my mind lately is as writers have nowhere to “resign” from, how can we take part in the “Great Resignation” as well? Or, to put a finer point on it, what toxic corporate culture things have we brought into our writing that need to be gone?
Each person needs to make that decision for themselves. It depends on whether you buy into the “business of being an author”, as if we’re all just brands and commodities now rather than thinking, breathing, living individuals trying to tell our stories in the way that’s best for us, and for our stories. Some of this, understandably, gets into the language one uses as well. For example, I am not a business. Epona Author Solutions, yes, is a business, and my writing has shifted more into a creative outlet that brings in some money, rather than a bonafide corporatey, businessy thing. That was my decision; you have to make your own.
But I think we all can agree on some toxic corporate culture things shoved into the writing world (Around 2012-2013 when marketers realized they could make money from authors. Trust me, when you’ve been in this business as long as I have, you’ve seen some stuff.) which we all can let go of and “resign” from.
What are my picks for the top ones?
Believing in productivity over all.
There are reasons, such as the way Amazon promotes books and authors, to think about a release schedule and how to “rapid release” books. I’m not denying that. But there’s a focus lately on a certain number of books, a certain set release schedule, and authors need to follow these regardless of what happens. This isn’t healthy. Understanding that your writing schedule may not match others’ writing schedule is the key to being comfortable with your writing. Forcing words only causes frustration. Yeah, sometimes you need to BICHOK (Butt in chair, hands on keyboard), but setting unrealistic goals also leads to unhealthy habits. Productivity is good. Wellness is better.
Don’t include a prologue. Don’t write in past tense. Don’t blah blah blah…. Those kind of micromanaging rules come straight from corporate HR and need to be yeeted into the sun. If your story needs something and you have a valid reason for including it (and only you know what’s valid), then include it! Some stories lend themselves to certain voices, and some characters demand their stories get written a certain way.
Year end report cards.
We do not need to give ourselves “performance reviews” at the end of the year. Is it good to know where you are and what you’ve done? Of course. You can give yourself a well deserved pat on the back for everything you’ve accomplished, but don’t grade yourself or beat yourself up for not doing something. Have a plan, but don’t let it rule you.
What corporate culture toxic traits are you looking to get out of your writing habit? I’d love to hear, so drop me a comment.