Navigating “permanent whitewater”

permanent whitewaterI was listening to a podcast series by the National Association of Independent Schools called the Trustee Table (I highly recommend it by the way).  A guest on one episode used the term “permanent whitewater” in regard to what he was experiencing in his field.

The phrase has really stuck with me since I heard it. It applies in so many ways to so many aspects of what we are all experiencing.

The pace and nature of change in our lives seems at a crescendo. Just when we think it can’t increase, it gets turned to an 11. Technology has come to compliment, assist, or rule our lives; depending on your point-of-view. Social media was a brave new world, and it now seems a curse. Expectations from universities, administrators, and students can seem burdensome at times.

In publishing, “permanent whitewater” seems even more applicable. Open access alone has changed the face of journal publishing. The textbook and monograph arena likewise have experienced changes in format and author expectations. The market continues to see reduced sales and changing opportunities.

As a glass half empty guy, I can see navigating these rapids as yet another problem. But (surprisingly), I now see it as the norm and a bit of blessing. Hear me out.

The constant changes in our lives mean that new opportunities will be open to us. We will not be lacking in new directions to move.

Our published work doesn’t just fit into books and journals anymore. Our work can be disseminated in blogs, our own websites, preprint services, and many others.

We can utilize new tools that are constantly emerging. TikTok for Physics or Anthropology?

I can now connect across the globe to literally anyone. Six degrees of separation I hear is now two and a half degrees of separation. Reaching to people across the world in your area is now just two or three clicks away.

It all starts with a plan. However much I have to repeat to myself when I get anxious: the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

See the rapids as a motivator; a way to stay out of a rut. We are all in it together and there is no going back upstream.

Grab an oar and let’s forge ahead.


John BondJohn Bond is a publishing consultant at Riverwinds Consulting. He works with individuals on publishing and writing projects. Schedule an initial complimentary phone call at Publishing Fundamentals. In his career, he has directed the publishing of over 500 book titles and 20,000 journal articles. He is the host of the YouTube channel “Publishing Defined.”Contact him at jbond@riverwindsconsulting.com.