There has been a lot of crying in my life lately. My daughter has been pretty unhappy, too.
You see, she’s two-and-a-half, and apparently that milestone marks a peak in what the experts call “separation anxiety.”
I call it Working Mommy Guilt, but potato, potahto.
After spending lots of quality time with grandparents and us over the holidays, we started off the New Year with a change in daycare. We expected a relatively smooth transition. After all, our daughter is one of the happiest, easiest-going and most outgoing little people I’ve ever met. But this change threw her.
She now clings to my leg when I drop her off, cries huge tears and says, “Mommy, you don’t need to go to work!” Ouch. And I thought Catholic guilt was bad…
I feel terrible for her, and I feel just plain terrible, but I understand—intellectually, anyway—that adapting to change is something she needs to learn. Heck, we adults don’t do it very well half the time. Maybe more.
So, I hide my dread every morning as we go off to daycare. And I’m eagerly awaiting the day, hopefully not too far off, when she has adapted. But while I wait, I recognize this feeling. That fear of change is part of the human condition. Most of us experience it from time to time. Some are paralyzed by it.
Including writers. And publishers.
Which brings me around to the warp speed at which our industry is changing, and the adaptability we all need to keep up.
Some writers, you see, are still clinging to the legs of their agents, their publishers, their, well, whatever they were used to before the industry started its rapid course adjustment. Those writers make decisions based on the way things were, not on the way things are. And that’s a dangerous way to conduct business.
Some publishers, too, have had a hard time turning the ship to respond to the shift in currents. They cling to their business models, hoping their sheer mass will carry them through. It won’t.
The only way to survive is to adapt. That’s what we do here at WMG. I won’t lie and say it’s always easy. But it’s necessary. Even fun, to tell you the truth. And it’s one reason why our fourth-quarter sales increased while the industry trended downward.
We’ll be talking a lot more about our innovative projects in the coming weeks. In the meantime, experiment with a little change yourself. Try a book in a genre you’ve not read before, for example. You’d be amazed what opening yourself up to a little change will do for your adaptability.
Allyson Longueira is publisher of WMG Publishing. She is an award-winning writer, editor and designer.