I often read things along the lines of “Don’t get discouraged by rejections/not getting into contests because in the end, if you love writing, you’ll always write. Publishing isn’t everything.” – stuff like that.
While I agree, to some extent, I’ve mentioned before that publishing is about 50% of my motivation for writing. Now, a lot have commented on that being bad, or basically saying that maybe writing isn’t for me, then, but I’d like to explain why it’s half my motivation, and maybe then it’ll make more sense.
It’s difficult to put into so many words, but basically, it’s about time. Doesn’t make sense? Let me explain that part. When I have free time, I write. Plain and simple. Before anything else, unless my creativity is down or I need a break from writing, I don’t watch TV shows, play games, surf the internet, etc. What does that mean? Well, it means that when people ask me what I do with my spare time, I just bring up my art, and leave my writing out of it. Why? Because I feel that until I’m published, I can’t tell people I spend my time writing. Again, same question as above, but I suppose the answer is simple: fear. The few times I have told people what I actually do during free time, they’ve all asked the same question, and all commented pretty much the same way. Something along the lines of:
Person: “So are you published?”
Me: “No. Not yet. But I’m querying a manuscript, and editing another one right now.”
Person: “Oh, so it’s nothing serious. You just write. What’s the point then?”
Me: “…I like to write.”
Person: *awkward* “Ah, ok. So *fill in change of subject*”
Part of me doesn’t care what they think, but another part does. In some way, their question does linger inside my mind of ‘what’s the point of writing?’ and ‘why do I bother?’, but most of all, I often feel like, all this time I take to write won’t ever amount to anything – that I won’t ever be able to look back and be happy about what I wrote because it’ll all be sitting in folders on my computer, forever untouched, and unread. Stories comes to life when people read it, so mine remain dead to the world. I’ve sometimes thought of posting my stories online, for free, but what I want, most of all is to be published. To see my name on a novel with the title of my story – to be able to say “I’m a published author.” is just too big of a dream to let go. Self-published has been suggested a few times, but I don’t have the funds for that, nor do I feel comfortable with how difficult publishing is, so traditional publishing is what’s left for me.
And that “proving that it’s more than a hobby to me” comes into play with the next issue in my life: physical problems. I’ve had carpel tunnel syndrome for a while, and recently started physiotherapy because my left side was so badly damaged by lifting heavy things, and typing for university, and writing manuscripts, too long that now I have problems with just sitting at a computer and typing. The exercises help, but that’s not the problem. Basically, the therapist said something along the lines of “Well, it’s good that you’re not in university anymore. Now you can stay away from typing as much.” I didn’t say anything. How could I? “Oh, but I write stories.” I would’ve have got a similar conversation as what I posted above, except now it would be “Well, your health is more important than some hobby.” But if I was a published author, then, at least, I could say I am, and that it’s my work. Then there would be understanding just like when I told her that at my job (phone interviewer) I have to sit for seven hours, so she gave me exercises for that specifically.
So why is publishing 50% of my motivation? Because I just want my love of writing to be taken to a level where I feel that I don’t have to explain it anymore. I know that even with being published, problems arise, and some still think it’s a waste of time, but at least, for me, I won’t feel like I have to explain where I put all my time into, and why. I want to be able to proudly say, when people ask, “I write stories, and yes, I’m a published author.”