The Clash Of “Mindsets”: Structural Versus Relational

I almost fell for it!  I found on line a “Writer’s Conference”.  Unfortunately it was past registering deadlines and being held as this is published.  I had the urge to go until I asked myself “why?”  I have six, yes, six manuscripts that are book length in folder in my computer and have no idea what to do with them. If I go my questions would be, “What do I do with them?”  I thought the obvious answer is “to get them published.” Why? Bottom line: financial rewards!  Oops, wrong motive.  I love to write for the sake of writing, to get out of my head the thoughts, convictions, ideas, ideals, and images that I put on paper after going to this creative “place”, as my wife calls it!  But every writer wants someone to read his writing, doesn’t he?  All this made me realize the dilemma 21st Century writers face – do I publish my material structurally or relationally?

“Old School”, like myself thinks structurally; “New School”, those who I label “twenty-teeners”, those who will be in their twenties and early thirties between the years 2013-2019, think relationally and are totally frustrated by “old school” structures.

I am frustrated by the “Publishing Pyramid” who is a business, thus bottom line is “what sells”, not necessarily what is the message. Pyramidal structures provide protective shields of isolation to those at its top from those on its bottom and those outside it.  Try to be a young or new author without a proven marketing record to penetrate the “Publishing Pyramid”.  They don’t take “new authors” yet claim they are searching for them.  You must have an “agent” (another 21st century pyramid scheme to make money; ask professional athletes) to “get in” at 15% of your profits.  Again bottom line money and marketability.   They claim their staff would be “overwhelmed” by so many would-be authors manuscripts.  A lot of authors want to be heard, but are not finding outlets.  Also the “Publishing Pyramid” is beginning to crumble over the last couple of decades. Publishing house rarely take the financial risk anymore of publishing costs and marketing strategies, placing them on the shoulders of the want-to-be authors.  Self publishing and a self marketing is now the “norm”.  The movie “You Got Mail” portrayed the large Book dealers bullying the small bookstores out of business, yet today the large book houses are crumbling to the ebook industry.  The print industry finds itself fighting for their financial lives when facing the electronic generation boom of emailing, social networking, tweeting, texting, and blogging which the printed industry cannot prevent or block.

The “New Schooler” is in a world where vertical communications with peers is important.  The mindset that has been developed is that data is “free” on the internet (the only thing you should pay for is its connection fee), so old business norms of “publishing for profit” are scrambling for new avenues.  The printed local newspapers, and even personal written letters sent through the United States Postal Service are following the road of the pony express. “New Schoolers”, “twenty-teeners,” just want to be heard.  It doesn’t matter if it is to a Facebook/MySpace “friend” or in a Google+ “huddle” or to the “public”, open for the whole world to see.  It doesn’t have to be the printed word, a picture is worth a thousand words, so they say, so “uploading” photos are even more popular to express an ideal or “tell their story”.  Twittering is all about establishing a large number of followers, a reading base of your material, and/or sharing “voices” among each other that you “like” or wish to share.  It is all about “communicating” “horizontally” without the filters, interference, and censorship that pyramid structures create to protect those at their pinnacle. It is not about financial rewards, but about just being heard, vertically without restraints.