Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Eradicating The Weed Of Publishing

Have all the great things been done? Have all the great themes been used up? Are there any original ideas? As a writer, and an individual, the thought of everything great being done before kind of puts me in some-what of a dejected state. Is there a point in even trying? I have four works in progress, but lately have no drive to even bother. The will to write has been sucked out of me.

This morning, as the sun peeked over the mountains in the distance and the black sky turned a salmon pink, I started to wonder why. Is it seeing all these writers running the same race? We scramble, we fight, we go at it time and again, and for what? For someone to look at our work and say, hey this ain't half bad? For someone to take the plunge and take a chance on an unknown kid? For some agent to spend more than five minutes reviewing our query?

There are success stories, but they seem far and few between. And still there's that nagging question lingering in the back of my head: what are my chances? My chances? Well, my chances are low. I've written a novel, the one I've chosen to present to the world, in a genre that is saturated with people trying to break through. They say they want something new, but yet they keep pumping out vampires and werewolves. It's enough to drive me mad. And so, I am realistic, my chances are slim to none.

I tell myself that at least I'm trying. At least I'm making an effort to obtain the things I want, but, as of late, this isn't enough to keep me warm at night. I write to write, but the work that goes into trying to be published and the battering your ego takes in the querying process, completely obliterates my desire to create. I don't take the rejection personally because I see the amount of people shopping their work around, but it still reeks havoc on my creative process.

Maybe at this point, I should remove the idea of publishing from my mind. Is it time to weed out the idea of seeing my book on a shelf at Chapters. I should cut out the roots and toss the idea of publishing into the garbage. Like any extra-strength weed,the bloody bastard will most likely grow back. For now, I think my goal of finding an agent or publisher needs to be smothered and my desire to write needs to be fertilized and handled with care until it grows back into the wild plant it once was.

Don't get me wrong. I want to be published, but I want to write more. And lately, my minds been on publishing, querying, rejections and not on the thing which once made me tick--crafting. Writers write. And I want to write again. I don't want to stare at my WIP and tell myself all the reasons why it will never be published. I don't even want to care about that. I want to just write it for me and not worry about commercial success. I want to craft for my muse and not for the marketability of it all.

Perhaps in the last year I've lost of sight of what I truly want. Maybe I'm not ready to struggle through the rat race which is the publishing world. At this point in time, I want to write. I don't want to have to feel that sick little kick in my stomach when I open my email and see a response to a query. I want to open my email and see responses from lovers in foreign places...okay that might be reaching.

How often do writers get lost along the path of publishing? How many writers lose grasp of why they're actually doing this? I didn't start writing for money. (though it would be nice to be paid to write.) I didn't start writing with ideas of grandeur, of getting a four book deal from Random House and doing world book signings. That wasn't my goal. My goal was to write. To finish a book...

For some reason I ran astray. I lost my grasp on that fact. And now that I've finished a book (or four) I need to get back on my original path and set another goal...not to be published, but to finish another book, or finish editing one of my completed ones. That's where I want to be. Not worrying about never being published.

I'm not ignorant. Agents and publishers aren't going to come to me. I know I will have to put the work into finding one, but I'm not going to let the struggle of trying to acquire one squash my passion for the written word.

So, you heard it here first. I don't want to be a query queen or a synopsis savant. I want to be a writer. And that's bloodly hard when you aren't writing. Screw publishing. I just want to write.

5 comments:

Sessha Batto said...

It is tough Tee - i have three works in progress and a stack of promised shorter pieces, and this last week I haven't been drawn to work on any of them. After a few rejections I find it hard to remember I write because I enjoy it, after all, apparently everyone else hates it ;) Still, I plan on recharging my creative batteries and throwing myself back into the fray. Why? Because I can't imagine anything else . . . ad neither can you. Write, the rest will come (or, at least, that's the chant I'm using to get myself going again!)

Marioninnyc said...

It's a strange time. Chapters and other bookstores are on the way out or otherwise redefining what they do. If you "write to write," there's no reason to give up, and you understand that. Success is what's on the page, not whether or not the page makes it into a store.

Soooz said...

Hell T, I agree 100% the need to market ourselves and our work is so daunting. I am one of the luckiest people on the planet getting signed on the basis of one chapter, but it's easier when its biographical. I hate the need to promote but recognize that i have something that needs saying, so i keep at it.
I will be so glad when "Empty Chairs" is released. I want to get back to creating fiction.
Simply because I love to write, I need to write to maintain what little sanity I have left.
You are way too talented to be jaded by the process of marketing.

So I agree, step back from the killer marketing crush, and write because you can. Write because you must. Look forward to each new day.

I want to be meeting all the marvelous characters you will create... You are too talented not to write.

Exmoorjane said...

Ah I hear you, I really do. I felt like a rabbit trapped in headlights with Walker...just couldn't seem to move on. In fact, when I think about it, I tend to spend most of my time NOT writing but thinking about writing. Then, when I DO write, it's all done in an unseemly race as if it's a dirty secret and I really should hide my notebook in my knickers.
There does seem to be a more optimistic scent in the air of late - more successes, more signings. Your time will come, m'dear. xxx

story spinner said...

I truly understand, as a writer you want so badly to get published. And sometimes it gets in the way of the creative process. Publishers say they want sometimes new, nut when I browse the YA section everything is vampiric or Gossip Girl. And you know you have something that is far different then that. But somebody has to take a chance on a kid.
But you are right, a writer's focus should be the craft. Crafting the best prose one can squeeze from their pen. Publishing is just the icing on the cake.