Monday, September 28, 2009

Monday Rambles

The best part about Word on the Street, for me anyway, is talking to avid readers about the books they've read and then giving them recommendations. One of the books I was talking about to anyone who'd listen yesterday was Colum McCann's Let the Great World Spin. My favourite part of the day was pitching the book to a couple while a fellow was listening (I wasn't even talking to him!) who said, "Sold! I wouldn't have picked up that book based on the cover but you've got me now." He walked away with my favourite book of the season under his arm.

For the most part, I have convinced myself that I'm not a "marketing" person. When I first started my career, while I was finishing up my schooling, I worked in circulation. I hated it. In fact, I would even go so far as to say I despised it. For years I tried to get into magazine editorial and no one would give me a job. Not even an assistant's job. Nothing. And so I gave up. I found writing work elsewhere (on the web) and have always been a little disappointed in myself for not knowing how to find that work in any other way.

I'm rambling, I know.

There were things that I loved about being a content producer (back in the day). But I've only ever wanted to write about what I want to write about. But that sits in direct conflict with one of the goals I've set out for myself -- which is make a living by my pen (me and Aphra Behn; natch). The thing is, I'm not sure I'll ever get there. I'm too old to start a whole new career, too young to give up on finding fulfillment at work, and too tired to put much effort into the whole freelance racket. And let's face it, I'm too shy and also too insecure to be any good at pitching.

But here's the rub -- once a year I love (at Word on the Street) being in "marketing." Most of the time I'll deny the designation. I have a love/hate relationship with the term. I've never wanted to have much to do with the idea of it as a career. It's tangential to working with books online. The companies aren't big enough to have digital departments proper (here in Canada anyway) and there are marketing elements to what we do online. If you want to do online and be in books, you have to at least accept the fact that you will also be in marketing.

For me, however, it's always been about the words. Until I'm forced into a crowd and made to stand up and shout. And once a year I discover that I absolutely adore talking to strangers about books. I love being asked what I've read and what I thought. I love finding kindred spirits in terms of reading habits. And I get over my whole-hearted fear of crowds and people and talking in public and all the normal insecurities that have me generally communicating by written instead of spoken words.

I don't know what the point of this post really is beyond a couple of observations. I sat down at home on Saturday and wrote for the first time in months. I felt like myself. And then I felt angry that I had committments that took me away from those words I wrote. I finished two articles that I adored writing for ExperienceTO and wondered, again, if I shouldn't just take the plunge and try to make a living solely from my pen.

These last few month have seen me be so utterly conflicted about so many different elements in my life. I guess I'm just waiting for the universe to show up and give me a little direction. What say you Astrology Zone?

4 comments:

Heather said...

I was sorry to miss 'word on the street'. they had a big event in Victoria Park in Kitchener. We were camping and couldn't work the timing.

You do a wonderful job interacting with me online and I imagine that you would be equally as wonderful in person, even better in fact, more chatty etc.

Ultimately the choice is yours, but whatever you chose, if writing makes you happy, then please keep writing.

Kailana said...

Apparently I should've got Colum McCann's book! I wouldn't have got it based on the cover, either...

Maylin said...

Yes, I couldn't agree more about WOTS - it's exactly why I keep working it year after year. We need to get out of our offices and connect like that with avid readers and have those great conversations. And I love that handselling, and also getting recommendations from the crowd as well.

Zesty said...

I say if you want to make a change, then make it. I changed my career after 12 years. What's your other option? Spending the rest of your working life doing something you know you're not into? Seems a waste to me.