April 14, 2011
A Hypothetical Question About Writing and Publishing
Let's say God floats down from heaven today and knocks on your front door. He proceeds to give you a big hug and then He looks at you and says, "Hey, you got a minute? I think we should talk."
So you invite God into your house and you take a seat in your living room. "Um, thanks for coming!" you say, unsure if this is really happening or if you've having a relapse from your PCP college days. "What did you want to talk about?"
The Almighty gives you a sad look. "You know," He says, "I wanted to talk to you about this writing thing that you're pursuing. I've seen how hard you've worked. I know how much you want this. But I've seen the future, kid, and I'm sorry to say that you'll never get published. At least, not in this lifetime."
You take a deep breath. Well, that totally sucks, you think to yourself while you try not to cry in front of a heavenly being.
God gives you a warm smile. "Hey, keep your chin up! You've got other talents. Anyway, I better get going. Lots to do today, after all--fighting Satan and ruling the universe and everything else. See you in a few decades!"
POOF. Then He disappears, leaving you all alone in your living room with a lot to think about.
Okay, that was kind of a weird hypothetical question...but it's something I've been thinking about lately. You see, I was hit with a major case of the Doubts last week, which stirred a serious conversation between me and my husband. Ultimately, the point of our discussion was this: do I write for the love of writing or do I write for the desire to get published?
And so, I've been thinking about this question quite a bit. Do I focus too much on that elusive book deal? Are my goals too singularly focused? Yet, it's really difficult for me to separate my passion for writing from my deep-rooted desire to get published. I mean, isn't that what we're all striving for? Yes, we love writing and we love improving our craft, but the reason why we put ourselves through countless revisions and rejections is to chase after that dream of seeing our books at a bookstore and sharing it with a wide audience.
Am I alone in this line of thinking? Maybe? Maybe not?
Anyway, that's why I set up this hypothetical question for myself. If I knew I would never get published, then would I keep on writing books? To be perfectly honest, I don't know. The dreamer side of me would say, "Why not? Writing is great!" But the practical side of me would wonder, "Well, what's the point? If this publishing thing is a bust, then I'd rather spend my time on something else. Like sloth breeding."
But at the end of the day, this hypothetical situation is just that: it's hypothetical. I have no idea whether or not I will get published. I don't have a crystal ball. I don't have God knocking on my door. But I do have hope. And that, I think, is why I keep on trying. Why I keep on drafting. Why I keep on revising. Why I keep on putting my heart out there.
Ah, hope. If none of us had it, then there wouldn't be too many writers out there. But we do have hope--it's the engine that fuels us to immerse ourselves in this crazy publishing world, even though it can break our hearts and hang us out to dry.
So that's what I'll do: keep on writing until my tank of hope runs out...
Have I mentioned that I'm a really hopeful person?