In the fourth book of the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, there is a maze that the students compete in that changes it’s pathways as you walk through it. This means that you can’t go back the way you came in because that way no longer exists.
Driving my car on the streets of Jackson, Michigan, the past few weeks, has felt like going through that maze. Road crews are working to finish projects before the snow flies. Over the summer I have adjusted my driving routes based on construction zones, but one morning, just as one street that had been under construction for weeks opened up, two other streets were closed, messing up my alternate routes. I go one way I’ve always gone only to find that path blocked. I can’t go that way anymore. So then I try another street only to find that path blocked as well.
Sometimes roads are just blocked for a day or two, roadblocks popping up for crews working on railroad tracks or cutting down trees. I’d feel better about this constant disruption if it wasn’t for the fact that I know they are barely scraping the top of the list of needed roadwork. Just think how bad it would be if the government started really fixing all the roads in need of repair.
Maneuvering the internet, all the social media sites popping up, and the changing state of marketing and book publishing is like that maze as well. No sooner do you learn one marketing technique, then it is obsolete. What was popular for websites a year ago is now passé. The pop-up that prompts the visitor to your website to sign up for your newsletter is on the out as Google cuts websites with such pop-ups out of its search engines. What will replace it? I don’t know. The fancy newsletter with graphics, pictures and videos, is being replaced by email that looks more like the email you send to family and friends in order to trick the spam blockers into letting your newsletter get into the desired email box. Facebook is passé as readers move to Pinterest, Instagram, snapchat and others. The list goes on and on.
Is it any wonder I feel crazy at times? I’m running a maze that I have little to no experience in and the minute I think I have something figured out, the rules change. Some people seem to thrive on that: Young techies and hackers that love anything and everything new that comes out in technology. That’s not me.
So how do I handle this ever changing landscape? I focus on what remains stable in this changing world. If you want to make it as an entrepreneur, you have to produce a quality product. That hasn’t changed. If you want to make it as a writer, you have to write high quality books with solid, compelling, story lines, complex, well-developed characters, and good writing without a lot of errors. This remains the same as all the avenues for reaching your audience changes.
The other constant is our loving God. God continues to pour out love upon us, even on our worst days when it feels like we are lost or back tracking, or getting nowhere.
The mazes around us may change daily, throwing up challenges and roadblocks to get in our way. When feeling lost, I fall back upon that which is stable, my writing and my God, not necessarily in that order. I can’t avoid the maze of technology, not if I want to make it as an independently published writer, any more than I can avoid traversing the beaten up streets of Jackson. But I can fall back upon that which is real and trustworthy.
How do you deal with all the changes life throws at you?