I don’t post my best writing.
My favorite poems, short stories, and the pages from my unfinished novels never meet fresh eyes. I tell myself that I need to “save them”, but what am I saving them for? I pretend that one day I might publish them, weeks and then years pass and they remain untouched in the cloud. When should I acknowledge that the day I have been saving them for may never come?
I used to want to be a writer.
I used to have literary aspirations before I knew what the reality of what a writer’s life is really like- constant financial struggle. So, I decided that writing would remain my hobby. Freed from the stress of making a living off the written word, my work could flourish in creativity. I told myself that I didn’t need money, fame, or glory. I didn’t need the acknowledgement that came along with traditional publishing. I told myself that I only cared about my craft, my work, and the joy of creating. But it was a lie.
I crave the praise of publication.
Self-publication on the blog is low-risk and low-reward. Few people read my writing, and even fewer care enough to express their approval or disapproval of my work. The pieces I post were never intended to showcase my abilities, so I don’t take any praise or criticism I get to heart. I’ll never make a name for myself, and I’ll never make a dime- but I can get a taste of the literary life I might of had. I can’t say the same of traditional publishing.
I fear the gatekeepers of the publishing world.
Traditional publishing has many gates to pass through, and there are agents, publishers, editors, sellers, and critics who guard the way. Talent, marketing acumen, and luck are all requirements to become successful in this competitive industry where sales determine your worth. The journey is rough, but if you pass through all the gates you are rewarded with the official title of “writer”, and the admiration and praise that comes with it. But if you fail, the dream is dead.
It’s an extremist view, I admit.
I speak as if there is only one path, when there are many roads I could take. I could have someone else to submit my work to overcome the first hurdle. I could use an indie press, or self-publish. I could promote my blog to get more viewers, and (most importantly) go to therapy to overcome this complex I created. There’s a million things I could do with the writing I hide away- but I don’t do any of them.
A writer is writer, period.
Writing doesn’t have to be read to be worth creating. A writer doesn’t have to be published to call themselves a writer. Whether I open the vault or not, the time I spent on my writing was not wasted. Whether anyone ever reads them or not, they have worth. Maybe one day I can actually allow myself to believe these things to be true.