In this, the first of a continuing series in which we survey the attributes necessary to be successful in the world of publishing, we will examine the first and foremost skill necessary of any bonafide publishing professional.
It is very important that your visage be that of an unopened book. Your poise and calm may be the only thin tether connecting your boat of salt-encrusted writers to the shores of reason during storms of great stress.
If you are worried about making deadline or missing a printer date, your uncertainty will be legible on your face. Supervisory-doubt is a major contributor to Writer's Panic Syndrome (second only to the ever-pervasive, self-doubt). And like ladling chum into the ocean, any tentative expression on your part could incite a feeding frenzy among the other busy and important publishing professionals. For these reasons, you must practice inscrutability. The last thing you want is for others to read on your face what you are actually thinking.
Fortunately, this will be easy to do, provided you never engage in actual productive thought.
Instead, try picturing that last chocolate-covered donut you passed on the way to your meeting. Imagine how delicious it will be. Tell yourself how much you truly deserve that donut, since you are, in fact, so very busy and important. After several moments of this, it may be necessary to excuse yourself temporarily from the meeting to go down to the kitchen area and wrestle the subject donut from the hands of a starving editorial writer. However, be careful not to hurt the writer, or you will be personally responsible for writing the clever cover copy you were depending upon her to think up at the last minute during the last hour of the workday.
Until then, just focus on that donut.