A fantastic piece by Natalie Whipple on the mental anguish that comes with being a writer, wanting to be published and trying to persuade yourself that it’s not the most important thing in the world:
Can we say denial? Inside, it felt like I would never, ever be happy if I didn’t sell a book. If I couldn’t succeed at this, then I would be settling. If I wasn’t a writer, any other path would be meaningless.
Jeepers, those three short sentences ring true. I’m not sure that I still don’t feel that way, if I’m perfectly honest. To write a novel takes such commitment – such sacrifice – that anything less than publication has always felt like it would be a failure. I’m older now and I know that to think like that is a silly, destructive thing to do. But still. It’s a challenge.
Natalie goes on to talk about how her approach to writing and being published has changed:
… at the time I didn’t have that perspective. I just wanted to get there. It wasn’t so much about making the book amazing — it was about making it good enough as fast as I could so someone would just BUY IT already. That, I think, ultimately had the opposite effect: it slowed me down. I… was putting publishing before the book.
That has been my message on Write for Your Life for a while, most notably when I balked at the idea of writing a novel in seven weeks.
I don’t care if you want to self-publish or not, I really don’t. All I want is for you to care so much about your writing that you’re prepared to put it before anything else. Including publication. Especially money.
Join 1600+ super subscribers
I send two regular newsletters. Draft Mode (biweekly) is about the writing process, writing resources, creativity and being an author. Minifictions (monthly) features five original pieces of flash fiction.
Sign up once. Choose your newsletters.Subscribe now