All Out Of Ink

August 11, 2011

Poof! I’m Published (or, The Thing I Am Not)

Filed under: Inspiration,Publication — Laynie @ 12:02 am

What if I woke up one day and was suddenly a published writer? I don’t mean the kind of “published” I currently am, with a few by-lines and lots of stuff waiting in the wings for the right opportunity. I mean impressively, undeniably, financially, reputationally (is that a word?) published. I mean published like people know who I am. Published like my book is on its third print run. Published like I legitimately wrote something good enough to be in the right place at the right time and hit the right person as memorable.

What if I was like that in a *poof*?

I’ve done enough writing to warrant that. I have every confidence I’m that good. I’ve worked really hard at this. There’s no doubt in my mind that I deserve it by now. I hate the thought that I could spend my whole life being an amazing writer, getting only rejections because there’s such a plethora of good work for the big-time publishers to choose from.

If I did wake up one morning to that reality, I think I’d be disappointed. Sure, I’d be thrilled and excited. I’d head straight to IHOP for breakfast to celebrate. I’d be ready to open up a REAL savings account at the bank. I’d sign copies of my book for all the friends and relatives who have believed in me and supported me in my writing efforts all these years.

But I think a little part of me would be kinda sad.

I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because I’d have missed some portion of the journey. Maybe it’s because I’d want the satisfaction of each little step of that trip to the top of the list.

I think, though, it’s because I’d miss the struggle. I’m a writer. I’m a creative mind. I’m a moody little so-and-so sometimes who remains who I am by battling against the things that keep me from reaching my full potential. What if I lost that? Would I still have as much to say? Would I still look for (and find) the beauty in the pain of every day? Would suffering be as poignant and meaningful? I hope my soul would remain as open, but I’m not sure.

That is the uncertainty that fuels hesitation, just as my longing for that reality fuels my pursuit of publication. The inner conflict of a writer is just as important as plot conflict in a piece of writing. Writing isn’t just about the end result of publication. It isn’t even just about the end result of the writing itself. Its importance is rooted in the end result of sustaining a writer’s soul. Only that openness of soul can sustain the existence of an artist.

The soul is the thing. The rest is just business.

I’m in it for the art.

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