I follow Kris Rusch pretty closely to learn as much as I can about the writing business. I also support her on Patreon where she posts most of her blog entries prior to posting them publicly. A few are only available on Patreon.
I read her latest post on the effect of large events on the retail cycle about a week ago on Patreon and have been thinking about it ever since.
Because election year book sales—heck, election year entertainment sales—are usually weird. In the past, there’s usually a decline in retail sales (and that includes entertainment dollars) in the U.S. during the fall of a general election year. Sales will increase in November over the previous few months, but third quarter sales (and the first month of the fourth quarter) usually take a nose-dive.
Other big events also stop people from reading. I remember when the Twin Towers fell. I couldn’t read for months. Finally Steve gently told me that I had to stop watching the news. Only after turning off the news was I able to go back to reading.
One of her commenters points out that it’s not just competing media taking our attention that matters. Regarding the recent fires in Australia, Nicole says, “When my province was on fire, I wasn’t reading (or writing, to be honest) novels. I was trying to find out if my friends and family members were safe and making donations and clearing out the spare bedroom in case it was needed.”
There is so much news these days. When Clinton was impeached, I drenched myself in news. I read every word of Monica Lewinsky’s racy testimony. I read less of everything else.
We just had an impeachment again and the trial in the Senate started. Or did it? I am not sure. I’m not really paying that much attention. I’m writing, reading, and generally living my life.
Kris Rusch says
If chaos becomes normal, and it’s impossible to focus on one major news story or event, then consumers will stop paying attention. That’s what they do most of the time. Because the world is always heaving and churning. We continue our lives through all that noise.
So where are we? If I judge by my own reactions, I think we entered the world of swirling chaos. There is so much news all the time, it is impossible to focus on any one thing. Might as well read. Might as well live a fictional life vicariously for a while. Might as well learn something.
I wonder how this happened. Is the chaos we are seeing the result of additional chaos in the system. Climate change is certainly a chaos driver. Is that it?
Or is it that we know so much more about the world because we are living in the midst of an age of free information about nearly every corner of the globe? It’s available with no work on our part. It floods our consciousness. Is that it?
How does this affect the entertainment industries? Where do we fit in?
Here’s Rusch’s advice:
The other piece of advice that I can give you? Write a lot. Keep your head down, produce, and don’t be distracted by all the noise. That will be hard, but remember this: If you had (have) a day job, you’d go no matter what’s happen on the national and international level. Show up as a writer as well. Writing is not only what you do, it’s what you do well.
I’ve quoted her very fine blog post a lot here, but barely scratched the surface. Go read it. There is so much good within it, so much that will enlighten you.
Now I need to write. Mermaids are waiting.
May you find your own way through the swirling chaos. Be well, friends!