Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Set Free…Explained

There’s been a key change made to this blog.
You will note, in the sidebar, that my “day gig” is no longer linked here.
The reasons why are long and not worth going into.
The results, however, are.

Not to worry—I do still have a day gig. That in itself is no small feat, and we’ll leave it at that. But also make no mistake: that stuff about not having the “corporate gene”?
It’s still true. :-) And that is still good news.

You see, the pressure’s off now.
If you’ve read this blog over a long enough period of time, you know that not a small part of my time and energy has been devoted not only to learning a lot about the Catholic publishing world, but to trying to find a good niche for myself in it.
Trying, as the old saying goes, to get ahead.

But what was “ahead” in my sphere?

The logical next step in my progress in the halls of publishing would be to get into some variety of acquisitions or management.

Trouble is, folks, I ain’t management material. Not because I can’t do the job, but because quite frankly, I don’t care enough about contemporary modes of management to want to do it. Because management involves working with endless numbers of people, in endless situations where people have to collaborate, with all kinds of “team” nonsense and “stepping up” nonsense and “affirmation” nonsense, and…


After long years of desperately trying to think and act as if those things are important, of desperately trying to “play nice with others,” I’ve finally decided it ain’t worth the trouble. As Popeye put it, I yam what I yam, and what I “yam” is not a “people person.”

I am an idea person. I am an information person. I am a creative person. I do things with words, with ideas, with materials.

With people? I don’t do so hot.

That’s no crime, in and of itself; but in our modern workplace, you’d think it was.

And for awhile, I bought into that. I bought into the whole notion that if you’re smart (which I am), and if you’re educated (which I also am), you owe it to yourself, not to mention the world at large, to eventually be in management. That’s where you’ll stretch your wings, make your mark, bake your brownies…you fill in the cliché, I’m tired of them. :-) But management—or at least high-level editorial supervision—might be called the golden calf we’re all supposed to want to cook for lunch.

(There, now, is that a mixed enough metaphor for you?)

Trouble is, like I said…this ideal of next-grade-up-aspiration ignores the fact that, I, like Lucy Van Pelt, love humanity…it’s people I can’t stand. Give me a book and a red pen, a pot of coffee, and a nice window to look out of and/or breathe air through, and you might never hear from me for days…unless you poke your head around the doorway and say hi. It isn’t because I don’t like you. It’s because when I’m working, I’m working…and when I’m socializing, I’m socializing.

This doesn’t mean that I don’t like having fun with coworkers, either. But there’s a catch to this: I am apparently the Jessica Fletcher of the workplace-friendship game. Not that people I socialize with die…but they tend to—er—lose their jobs.

I’m sure it’s not because of their being friends with me. (I hope.)

But I digress…

Anyhow, I have discovered over a long period of time that, while I can try and grunt and groan and do a lot of heavy lifting to impress people with what a good girl I am, what a conscientious team player I can be, and how worthy I’d be for management…

…none of it really plays into what I’m best at, where my heart is, and where I want to end this adventure when my number is called.

So what’s the point?


The breakthrough in this thought pattern actually came one day in a still, small voice that said to me, simply, “You can stop trying to make it in this business, you know. You already have.”

So I’ve been missing the point by “trying to get” to somewhere I already am.

Fact is, I’m not on the bottom rung of a ladder.
I’m way closer to the top than I realize…and it’s time to start acting like that.

Management, whatever it means in this business, may be a real boon to lots and lots of people. And it certainly would be a boon to any company I work in to have me manage anything.
But if that should happen, it’s going to have to happen on terms I can actually stomach.

If I can see the light ahead, and it’s an oncoming freight train…
…well, maybe I can just let that one pass, because it’s clearly not meant for me.

I can stop pushing so hard.
I can stop plugging things for the sake of cheerleading.
I can stop being anyone but who I am…which, in the end, never was a hotshot editorial management type; it was, and is, a storyteller.

I’m a novelist, thank you very much.

That doesn’t mean I can’t do anything else, but it does mean that I daren’t waste any more energy attempting to cultivate fields and grow crops I don’t, in my heart of hearts, care about. That way lies frustration, burnout, and madness…and I’m not taking it anymore.

I’m free.
Within my cube or outside it, wearing my editor’s hat or my freelance-writer superhero cape and wielding my red pen…I’m free at last. Thank God Almighty, I’m free at last. :-)



1 comment:

Deb said...

Yay! You've had your epiphany. I'm glad to see it.

Now sally forth and bake those brownies (i.e., write that novel)!