Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Wanting to be published: is it a trap?

There's a great discussion on this topic going on over at Karen Miller's blog.

Here is part of what I wrote in the comments section:

I must admit I have never read fanfic and have no desire to do so. Nor do I have a desire to write it. In fact, I don't "get" it. One of the great joys in writing for me has always been world building. To use someone else's world - or even worse their characters - would take away 90% of the joy!

Sure, I wanted to be published, but that was never the obsession. And if I'd reached the end of my life unpublished, I would never have thought my life wasted. I wrote because I had to - that was the obsession - writing was and is an inseparable part of life. It has been since I was eight years old, or even younger. Does someone who reads a book, or goes sailing every weekend, or horse-riding, or swimming at the beach, or to the opera, waste their life? Of course not!

And that perhaps is the best advice I can give to a "wannabe" who is not sure whether they have what it takes to be a "got-there"! If you aren't loving the journey, if you ARE going to give up on the creative process after constant rejection, then you are probably in the wrong business and, yes, wasting your life. If the creation is what counts, then publication is just the icing on a cake that is already tasty. If creation is what counts and brings you joy, then you have a fufilled life no matter what happens.

Don't fall into the trap of thinking that publication is what writing is ALL about. It's not.

5 comments:

KarenEMiller said...

It's not what it's all about for some people, that's very true. But, and I have to be brutally honest, it is what it's all about for me. In the same way that performing a play by myself in the garage with no-one watching would be a waste of my time, so was the idea of writing and writing and never having an audience.

I stress, that's just me. And feeling that way may well make me a very tragic case. I admit it! *g* I'm tragic!

But I think it's important to know yourself, and what motivates you to do something. Or stop doing it, for that matter.

Glenda Larke said...

Being curious...do you know what you would have done if you hadn't been published, Karen? Refused to take no for an answer on your death bed? *g*

Anyway, I am glad you are the way you are, because this particular tragic case has produced some very fine books...

hrugaar said...

I suppose there's a parallel with show business (as karen mentioned with the play in the garage). You get independent film makers and alternative playwrights who are pursuing their own visions; but by and large the industry is run as a business - and those involved target their audience, are there to earn a decent living out of it, and hopefully have a lot of fun along the way. And good for them. :o)

As a kind of aside, one of my recurring niggles is that had I been born thick as two planks but with a natural talent for football I might have earned a great deal of money doing what I enjoy, because that's what Society wants to pay for; but being born with a way above average IQ and a talent for writing and a quirky perspective on life that hardly anyone is interested in hearing about ... well, you can see where I'm heading. :o\

Glenda Larke said...

That is probably the greatest mystery of the human condition, Hrugaar. We sometimes pay the most to the people who are the least useful. (Mind you, I am not sure that a fantasy novelist is particularly useful either...lol).

KarenEMiller said...

LOL! Pretty much, Glenda, going by the theory that where there's life, there's hope. *g*

Truthfully, I don't know. But I'm sure I'd be an unhappy and not very pleasant person. Thwarted, soured ambition can do nasty things to a person's soul.

Hey .. do you think there's a story in that??? *g*