For many it is that glorious threshold attained that leads to success, and for many, it is seen as a bar of success for writers. For others it is that tantalizing tease like a carrot before a horse that never seems to swing any closer from its string no matter how long it strives. For others it is written off as corporate and sacrificed for something more readily attainable.
For me, it has always been a goal and dream since I began writing seriously in college. This lofty achievement that might prove I was a decent writer. For me, self-publishing has never been an interest, though I don’t knock it in any way. I have always been a reader who reads hard-copy books he picks up in dusty used book shops, and for me, that’s where I’d like people to pick up my own work. Also I’d rather have someone else to do my marketing so I can just write. But that’s an aside.
I’ve been querying a book awhile now, without luck, and it’s got me thinking.
With a growing list of rejections it might be easy to get discouraged and perhaps give up, yet I still love writing, and I still have stories begging to be told. There was a time I once thought I would try to sell this one story when I finished it, and if not, I’d probably give writing up and move on to Big Kid Life. But the longer I write, the more I realize that the writing is for me anyway.
Once, simply finishing a story was the goal. Then, publication next. But now, more and more stories are coming to me and, though I would love to be published and would also love to end up on a bestseller list someday (who wouldn’t?), that is increasingly being revealed to me as Not the Point.
The point is the writing itself. Being a storyteller and telling a story to the end. The creation process from first idea to scenes made manifest to writing that closing line. All of it is therapeutic and life-giving and wonderful, and despite increasing rejection from the publishing world, I still love it and want to keep writing.
If publication comes, I can guarantee I will welcome it gladly. But it is not the be all end all. It is not the point at all. The point is to write because I am a writer and I have to. Beyond that, we’ll just wait and see.
So keep writing, fellow writers. Keep telling stories and getting better at your craft.
Whoever will read will read.
Until then, we must write.