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.