Chasing The Publishing Dream

Hopefully a stack of my books, someday in the future...
Hopefully a stack of my books, someday in the future…

You know, I think something has happened between now and September 2014, when I first really started to take writing seriously. Since discovering the Writing Challenge, a fabulous online community of people who aim to write a little every day (a lot is okay, too, but not everyone has time for that every day), I’ve written so much and learned so much about writing. I’ve started to plan my novels before I write them. I’ve been learning about story structure.

I’ve also learned more about publishing. And this isn’t an entirely good thing because sometimes I feel that we writers focus too much on the idea of “being published” as opposed to enjoying the actual writing and editing process. I know I do. (And yes, I know you probably think the words “enjoy” and “editing” should never be used in the same sentence together. I’m trying to learn to like editing because it’s so essential.) Sometimes, I feel like I’m totally obsessed with being published and having my book out there in the world to such an extent that I’m not enjoying the actual writing.

The thing is, we should write because we enjoy it and feel compelled to do so. At least, that’s how I see it. For me, writing is sort of like a calling. Yes, I desperately want to be published someday (preferably sooner rather than later), but I’ve realized that even if I could know that would never happen, I’d still write. It’s like novelist Dennis Mahoney said in an interview (written on a website for men, but whatever, it’s a good interview so I’m linking to it).

I was writing a long time, and putting in major effort for ten years, before I wrote something good enough to publish. I doubted myself constantly, and lost hope, and re-approached it, and found hope, and finally found a defiant sort of happiness in knowing I would keep on writing, even if I died an old man without a book deal.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d really love a book deal. But I’m discovering that it’s important to be happy—both with writing and life in general—without that book deal, too. I think that ties into a lot of what is said in this post by Robert Jackson Bennett (I’ve linked to it before because it’s just that good and makes me feel better about the fact that my day job has absolutely nothing to do with writing).

Fellow writers, it looks like all we can do is just keep writing.

Are you a writer? How do you deal with the uncertainty (about books deals, future careers, etc.) present in writing?


6 thoughts on “Chasing The Publishing Dream

  1. Great thoughts! I think that’s a very valid point. I am so glad Writing Challenge has been so effective for you in keeping going! You’re a fantastic writer and I’m sure one day you will be published!


  2. There are lots of little writing gigs that will help you get your foot in the door, if nothing else, just so you can say that you’ve “been published”, and it will make other publishers more open to taking a look at your work.

    The traditional gatekeepers of the industry and big book publishers are now getting more competition with self-publishers, which although most of us publicly say we loathe, but secretly envy. What you’re getting with a book deal these days is essentially a marketing package, which, believe me, can make all the difference. However, seeing that you have a business background, you could do your own marketing and still be successful.


    1. Well, over here you need an agent to get publishers to look at your work. Whether being published already helps with getting an agent, I have no idea. But it’s definitely something that would be cool, just to be able to say that I’ve been published. 🙂


  3. Being published is such a distant dream for me that it sorts of sits between being an astronaut and not having to work for a living… but it’s nice nonetheless to let the mind go.
    Did you read Stephen King’s “On writing”, by the way?


    1. I have read it and by that, I mean I skimmed the parts I didn’t like and avidly read the parts I did. There was some really helpful advice in there, especially his example for an edited passage.

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