Monday, July 10, 2017

Fear of Missing Out, or from FOMO to YOLO by Jim Hill

The internet is great. The internet is terrible. One way that it's great is how it enables like-minded people, say people who write books for kids, for example, to share the daily events that make writing and publishing the ecstatic roller coaster ride that it is.

Then there's the way the internet is also terrible. That'd be the way it takes all those kidlit folks we love and shows us how they're all doing the cool things, or getting all the great book deals, or hanging out together the way we wish we were to the point that you think you're no longer in the club, you're permanently outside with your nose pressed up against the glass.

This past weekend was full of big FOMO feels. The SCBWI Summer Conference happened in Los Angeles, and the summer residency kicked off at Vermont College of Fine Arts. I've been to the LA SCBWI conference once and had an amazing time meeting friends I'd made online in person, digging into craft workshops, and soaking up the wisdom of keynotes. And summer rez at VCFA? Pure magic. Ten days over-stuffed with lectures, readings, and deep, passionate conversations with people that have become family. It's a bit like summer camp for adult nerds.

So, instead of wallowing in all the potentially negative emotions, I bought tickets for a whale watch with my family. Brilliant! How to go from FOMO to YOLO. I clapped myself on the back (I'm flexible), and even tweeted about it.

And then. And then.

And then I literally missed the boat. We arrived two minutes late, the bow lines had been cast, and we watched the ship sail.

Fortunately, my family is flexible, too. After a fair amount of mockery over my utter lack of planning skills, we rallied with ice cream and fried scallops (not in that order, gross) and set our alarms for the next morning's whale watch.

Which left me with some time to ruminate on the ways a whale watch is like writing.

1) You take a bit of a journey to put yourself in the right position
2) You never know when something will surface
3) Sometimes a bunch of things happen at once
4) If you're lucky, you might get caught in a feeding frenzy
5) The best parts are often a fluke

And with that, I'd better get myself to Barnstable Harbor and on board in time to see some cetacean sensations.


  1. Brilliant, as usual. The "fluke" ending is genius.

  2. Oh how I love this! And I totally went to SCBWI to distract me from the fact this is my first time in 2.5 years I'm not making the trek up that magical, beloved hill.
    By the way, maybe next year we should do a Mayhemmers retreat. Just sayin'.

  3. This is perfect, Jim! And I like Yamile's idea of a Mayhemmer's retreat.


Thanks for adding to the mayhem!