Is it Published?

I mean, it’s not people’s fault, I know it isn’t.  If you’re not personally involved in something, if it’s not your passion, if you haven’t researched it, tried it, lived it, you can’t be expected to truly understand it.  I’d be exactly the same way if the topic were something I was unfamiliar with, say, the process for becoming a NASCAR driver or something.  But sometimes, I just can’t help being surprised at the general population’s concepts about publishing.

I have a necklace I wear, the pendant of which is the symbol from my one series.  People comment on it all the time, asking what the symbol means.  When they hear I’ve written a book (actually, I want to tell them sometimes, I’ve written eight, but that’s not the point) their first question is, “Oh, did you get it published?”  Now, I get that.  It’s a logical question and rather polite.  It’s when I tell them, no, not yet, hopefully someday and they give me this blank stare and kind of vague nod like, “Well, why don’t you just go do it, then?” that I want to start laying out the entire process of what that takes.  I don’t.  Like I said, if it’s not something you care about, there’s no reason for you to know and they probably don’t want to.  But I just want to shake my head.  Sure.  Just go and “get it published”.

The other night I was grabbing dinner at a fast(ish) food place.  While I was waiting for my food to come up I was chatting with the guy behind the counter, who had asked about my necklace.  The normal conversation ensued (although he at least asked what my book was about J ).  After giving me the blank smile when I told him I wasn’t published yet and was actually doing a massive rewrite on that particular novel, he said, “Yeah.  I met this publisher once and she told me if I ever wrote a book, she’d publish it for me.  So I thought about writing one, but I just never had time.”

I kept my smile in place, affirmed that it does take a lot of time, but in my head I was thinking, “What kind of crap publisher were you talking to?”  Not one I’d want to work with.  I wanted to scream at him THAT’S NOT HOW IT WORKS!   Publishers don’t just walk around handing out invitations like candy at a parade.  You don’t just decide, “Eh, maybe I’ll write a book since this person says they could publish it.”

No.  You write because you have to.  Because the words and the stories and the characters are living and burning inside you and putting them on paper is a therapeutic process for you and them.  You write because you can’t not write, because you feel good, better, best when you’re writing, because the world makes sense and you can make more sense of it.  Because you can escape whatever’s wrong for just a little while when you’re writing.  You write because you have a story to tell, a story only you can tell.  You write because if you don’t, the stories all stack on top of themselves like pancakes in your mind and take over all your thoughts until you can barely think of anything else.  You write because you love to write, or sometimes, because you hate to write.  You write because you want to.  And because you wouldn’t be right and you wouldn’t be you if you didn’t.

And then, after all that, and after what (if you’re not a full-time writer) might be years of this intense, passionate, emotionally uplifting and draining process of writing, editing, rewriting, fixing, tweaking you have something that is a piece of you and it’s on paper (or a computer document).  And you take that piece of you and you offer it to the publishing world, like you’re offering your heart in your cupped hands.  And that world takes that piece of you and they throw it back at you, they tell you that piece of you is no good, they crush it, smash it, tear it apart or they simply ignore it, neglect it.  Some may have a nice thing or two to say about it as they hand it back to you, but still they ultimately say, “No, I don’t want it” or “It’s not good enough.”

And you?  You take your piece, and you patch it up, clean off the dirt, remind it it’s loved by you.  And you offer it up again.  And maybe, someday, someone will see some potential in it.  And they’ll take it.  And then, together, you will reenter a process of tearing and ripping and slashing and polishing and tweaking and rewriting and editing until that piece of you is ready for the next round of rejections from the publishing world.  And on it goes.

And what do you do while you are going through this agony of “getting published”?  This constant state of rejection, of dreaming, hoping, wishing, praying?  Of wanting something so badly and realizing it might never happen?  You write.  Because it’s what you do.  You write.

 

~ S.D. Bullard

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~ by sdbullard on September 16, 2014.

2 Responses to “Is it Published?”

  1. This may be the first blog post that actually made me tear up. I feel your pain, oh, writing comrade.

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