I have begun a blog challenge! arlee bird at tossing it out has challenged bloggers to write a post a day, except Sundays, through the month of April. Each post will begin with a letter of the alphabet, in order from A to Z.
I wasn’t sure what to write for today. A chat friend of mine suggested this post’s title in a moment of levity and I had nothing else, so I went with it. I don’t think I ever really thought about this. I just assumed that if I were going to be a writer, eventually I would publish. Why do it if no one is going to read it? There are people who write purely for their own enjoyment, or for a very small, select group of readers, but why beat your head against the brick wall of publishing for what could be a small return in terms of money, time and recognition?
These might be some reasons. Are they mine?
- Money. If you want to get rich writing, it doesn’t generally happen. I hear tell you can make a living at it though, and that would be fine for me. A bestseller would be nice (or a string of them!), but I think I’d rather be comfortable than dripping with wealth. If it happens, I’m not going to say no. Realistically, I’m not expecting it.
- Prestige and/or credits. Being published is an accomplishment. For fiction writers, it can be terribly difficult to break in. Technical experts who do pieces for trade magazines, freelance article and content writers and copywriters have a ready market for their work, if they take the time to network and seek clients. Fiction is subjective. It has to appeal to a publication’s readers or fit the market up to a year ahead for books, a tough thing to predict. If you’re trying to write as a career, a published credit is good. I have almost nothing on my resumé right now and it’s disheartening.
There is a myth that you must be published to get published. I have heard countless writers say on their blogs that THIS IS NOT TRUE! Everyone has to begin somewhere, even if it’s an article about cows on the back page of Local Farming Monthly. One science fiction and fantasy writer with a long and impressive list of books published told attendees at VisionCon last year that he started out writing erotica!
- Attention. This can be a good or bad thing. If you’re comfortable doing presentations of your work, or being interviewed or even lecturing on your subject if your research is extensive, then you’ll probably be fine. If not, you won’t be comfortable with the marketing part of the business.
- A chance to be heard. I kind of like this one. I often feel that no one listens to me and I would love it if people not only read my work but discussed it. Not diss it, however. I’d rather not have a book club making fun of me the way some people make fun of Twilight. Which is fun, by the way. No, I’m kidding.*
You can avoid this by working obsessively on your craft. I already covered that in my post Unneccesary Roughness. Practice and the willingness to learn will never be a waste of time.
- Love of writing. Yes, I do love it. I greatly missed it when I was bogged down in schoolwork. I like the challenge of creating characters and moving them through their worlds and coming up with things for them to do. It’s fun to put down my dreams, fantasies and the imaginings I enjoy when stuck in line somewhere or in the doctor’s waiting room. I’m lucky to be able to articulate them. I hope you enjoy them; that is, if they are ever published!
I don’t think I would kill to be published—that would be a bit extreme. The more I learn about the business, the tougher the challenge seems, but the better equipped I feel to meet it. Thanks to already-published writers out there who are kind enough to share their insights, struggles and advice on craft and the journey to publication, we UNPUBs know better what to expect. I would especially like to thank Anne Mini, Anne Wayman and Nicola Morgan, aka the Crabbit Old Bat!
If you have any thoughts to share about this subject, please post them in the comments.
Very, very insighful. To kill would be extreme and unthinkable. However, success usuallly requires self-sacrifice– giving up certain things that you enjoy in order to do the hard work required to succeed. Usually the risks involved putting yourself on the line for failure, losing credibility, making a fool of yourself, being disappointed —a whole range of bad things. But if you don’t make the honest effort the outcome might be similar. Might as well recognize ambition and be its friend, its partner.
Good writers post to start the challenge–and actually advice that can be applied to anything.
Lee, I think you are right, and you do have to kill your misconceptions about your dream before you can achieve it. So many people try to become writers and once they find out how hard it really is, give up entirely. Just because something isn’t as easy as you thought doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing, or that you can’t do it. I wonder how many of them could have gone on to be successful if they hadn’t let that get in the way.
I had a poetry book published 2 years ago……it was a goal I had often thought about but when it happened and the finished article was in my hands WOW what a feeling.
Hope your ambition comes true and good luck.
A fine start to the challenge.
Have a lovely day.
Oh gosh, congratulations! That is awesome. And thank you, I hope so too.