I happened across a blog post where the author tossed out the question, “Why write it if not to be published?” As I read the post, it seemed to me the author was under the impression that many people don’t write with publication in mind. All I could say is, “Huh?”
I think what would have been more helpful to clarify what he meant because I see way too many people trying to publish their very first writing efforts. Most first writing attempts aren’t publishable, and the plethora of armchair writers don’t realize this. I blame our “I want it now!” mentality. Instant gratification is a lousy substitute for excellence because it short-circuits the learning process.
And who’s to say that after writing one, three, or five manuscripts you’ll be any good? It’s my dire hope that you are, but this “I’m gonna get published” is putting the cart before the horse. Why not learn the art, the craft, of writing first? Get off Writer’s Island and become active with writer’s groups.Attend some conferences to network with fellow authors, agents, and editors. Get your work out to beta readers…good, honest beta readers. Those experiences are helpful in determining whether you have something good or not.
It’s possible that I’m overly picky about “write to be published,” and this is a matter of semantics. But I meet so many writers all over the country, and very few of them say, “I’m writing because I love the ability to pour my heart out on paper. It scratches an artistic itch that I don’t get from my job as a navel lint collector.”
And that’s why we’re driven to write – not the promise or hope of publication – but the feeling we get from weaving a tale that touches our soul.
Do you feel you’re putting the cart before the horse and dreaming of publication, or are you more interested in writing a good story because it feels good?