Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Goal Is Fulfillment

I've read a great deal about writing.  For more than ten years, I have wanted to be published--and have been actively trying.  I have the 1998 Writer's Market (and others: more Writer's Markets, Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market, Guide to Literary Agents, etc.) that I bought new.  I have some older ones that I bought used.

However, as I mentioned last week, one needs to get it finished.  Reading about writing is fine, but you actually have to do some writing to have a chance to get published.

Anyway, one thing that I have read in many, many places is that, as a writer, you need to be satisfied with the writing itself.

Do I want to sell a million books and be able to quit my day job?  Sure!  Do I want to have millions of people read _my_ words and think I'm brilliant?  Sure!  Do I want my writing to get me that screenplay deal (with supporting role included...another of my passions)?  You bet I do!

But the likelihood of my selling a million copies of a book in either of my two main genres--poetry and picture books--is slim.  Aside from Dr. Seuss and celebrity picture books, how many end up on the NYT Best Sellers list?  And poetry?  I love Shel Silverstein and Jack Prelutsky, but most people don't even know Jack!  ;)

So, I still dream of lounging around on piles of cash from the sales of my latest book of children's poems, I Believe in Magic, or the six-figure advance from the sales of my picture book, Rhinoski!, but realistically, I need to write because:  I need to write.

Writing has long been an accepted form of expression.  But despite the fact that there are so many writers out there, it can be a lonely endeavor.  Generally, one person sits at a keyboard or holds a pen and paper and beats out a story, poem, essay, history, thought, rambling, or whatever.  Then that person spends countless hours rereading and/or rewriting it.  I have reread some of my poems hundreds of times.  Sometimes to make sure all the right words are in the right places, but sometimes just because I enjoy my own stuff!  (Have I mentioned how brilliant I am?  I just need someone else to discover that!)

Sharing my work with friends and family has had mixed results.  Some things that I think are brilliant get a so-so reaction from others.  Some things have had a great reception.  Different people have different tastes.  Which does make me think of other advice I've read dozens of times over the years:  When one editor rejects your work, send it to another editor.  Another editor might think it is just fine, or might work with you to make it publishable.

OK.  So where are we?  I love writing.  I'd love to be published (and relaxing in Hawaii surrounded by my hundreds of published books).  But, can I live with my writing if none of it ever gets into a bookstore?  Can I live with myself if the only people who read my writing live with me or are in my writing group?

Yeah.  I can live with that.

But it doesn't mean I stop trying.

Thanks for stopping by.


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