As stock markets around the world shudder and plummet, and blue chips descend into double dips, I distract myself from the media panic by wondering about similarities between economic and writing recessions.
Both types of recession are characterized by a contracting of activity generated by fear and anxiety about bad things that might happen in the future. There is a heightened awareness of risk, and an increased tentativeness about making a commitment. Confidence in one’s own judgement and the reactions of others spirals down, and investment of new capital, or time, slacks off.
Both recessions can lead to a depression if the spiral goes unchecked.
One difference; the investment world can cry out for help from the President if things really hit the skids, but writers don’t have this option. Obama has demonstrated that he can write a book, but he won’t spend the taxpayer’s money to raise you (especially if you are a Republican) up out of a writing recession. This seems unfair…all it would take is a quick little phone call from the Oval Office with an encouraging “Yes We Can!” message of some sort, and a lot of blocked writers would probably return to the keyboard with renewed zeal.
A long-term investor, or a veteran writer, does not panic when the market or the word flow sputters. History says that these recessions will right themselves over time. It might make sense to adjust your portfolio or shift your focus, but mainly the strategy is to just carry on; or in the case of writing, to just write on, even if the returns on your efforts aren’t overwhelming and it’s unclear if there will ever be a payoff.
And if you decide to bail out of the market, or of writing, because of a recession, you may soothe your immediate anxieties, but you’ll miss the exhilarating ride back up when the recovery eventually arrives, and then it will be harder to get back in the game.
Few brokers are aware that the “DOW” is an acronym for “Down and Out Writers.” It is actually a daily word count index that reflects the economic health of the globe. The more you write, the higher the index, the better everyone feels, and the more the economy flourishes.
Save the world, and yourself, from the double dip! Write something today!