“You bring to your writing, your art, and your stories a piece of yourself. In return, the act of creating gives you the possibility of something even greater: true transformation.”
I’ve come to an unavoidable crux in working with writing clients. It is my job to advise and critique on the nature of making a work of writing closer to publishable. It is my hope and desire, as it is my clients’, that they shall publish—most of them through mainstream channels—their beloved works. And yet a greater truth has been stalking me, circling me through the brush of my own awareness that there is more to writing than getting published and I’m working to find the perfect way to express this:
The act of writing is, in and of itself, important, necessary, and as Martha Alderson suggests in the quote above, transformative.
Yet it’s difficult to say to the person whose goal is to publish a long-toiled on novel: “Relax, trust the process, keep writing even if you see no publishing light in sight.” And it’s not exactly easy, either, to say to the person who writes daily, works hard, but still has miles to go before they are at publishable level, “Take your craft up to the next level.”
I’m constantly striving for a balance of these truths…that publishing requires hard work, sometimes much harder than the writer ever set out to do. And that level of hard work requires the writer to love the work, to enter it for something beyond what publishing alone can bring.
But that is the axis upon which I continue to sit. And at the end of the day I lean toward actions that bring meaning to my daily life, that make me feel fuller, more enriched, purposeful NOW. Certainly publishing is a kind of zenith of that sense of purpose, one in which you also get to put out your words to others and hopefully see some kind of reward in return—praise or money or a chance to speak/teach/keep writing.
I urge the writer to find, and focus on, and build up, and create more of those reasons to write that don’t have anything to do with publishing, or less to do with it.
I hope you’re also writing for transformation, discovery, love, and pride, because it keeps you from despair, or helps you cope, or helps someone else cope and love and transform.
The secret is: the more often you write from that place, the better your work will become.