By C. Hope Clark –
Whether you are freelancing or penning the next great American novel, these days the Internet slings hundreds of tools, clubs, databases and short-cuts at you, all filled with promises. They claim to make your journey easier, more profitable, give you access to people you’d never meet otherwise. What you don’t realize is that many of them are simply attempting to make a buck off your eagerness.
Writers crave publication with a passion. So much so that they often lose the ability to judge efficiency. Writers also crave camaraderie, and all too often these groups give writers a sense of membership. I-feel-your-pain type of stuff. These online tools prey on both of those urges. They can steal your goals, making you focus more on the tool than the prize.
Oyster is shutting its doors. So is Authonomy. I just watched two publications change from paper and electronic to purely electronic, all in the name of “we meant to from the start” or “it’s to save the environment.” Any tool out there exists to make a dollar, just like you.
There’s nothing wrong with some of these tools, if you accept them as working for you, not vice versa. You should feel you get what you pay for, not feel that the tool will sculpt you into something you’re not.
You also don’t need all those tools. A handyman may have a warehouse full of tools, but the majority of those he needs fits in his truck. Why should he invest into so many tools if he cannot see where they improve his productivity, success, and income?
Nothing beats hard work and research. Or word-of-mouth from those who’ve gone before you. Don’t become so entrenched in tools, clubs, and services that if they disappeared tomorrow, you’d feel unable to continue. Recognize them for what they are. Choose the few that nurture your goal but don’t distract you from it, and then strike out.
Write and submit. Promote and publish. And be able to trek on no matter what tool decides to fold because it’s nary more than a tiny wrinkle in your pursuit of your craft.