Why I’m Giving Up On Being Published
February 19, 2016 § 41 Comments
A guest post from Woz Flint:
When I was five, I wrote my first poem about the wonders of bubblegum. It was silly, it was sassy, and it was my gateway into the world of the written word.
Over the years, I continued to pen poems and create characters for fun. This became part of who I was and I never thought twice about why I was doing it. I just did it and I loved it.
Yet, somewhere along the line, someone, perhaps a well-meaning teacher, suggested that maybe one day I’d become a published writer.
Something in me shifted.
I no longer longed to be a writer, but instead, a published one.
I got my first taste of publication when I landed a stringer position with a local community newspaper. I was so excited to share my words with the world. Or, in most cases, the family members and friends who were kind enough to read my pieces.
Every week when that paper came out, I rushed to the section what displayed my name and I beamed, reading my words over and over again until I could practically recite the piece verbatim.
But there it was — that byline. It seemed to be surrounded by glitter and fireworks on the page. I was hooked.
Several years later, I would find myself published in a popular online newspaper and there it was again — that byline. It seemed to shine brighter than ever and became my new drug.
I landed it again.
And then again.
I began to write not with joy, but instead with one intention only…to get another byline.
And once that was the goal, not another piece was published.
A year has passed since that last byline was pressed and I’ve tried over and over again to sit down and write pieces for publication. The delight and happiness I had as a child has been replaced by bitterness and resentment. There’s no ease, no bliss, just struggle.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been concentrating on a story I’ve wanted to tell for years. I start each writing session with excitement and end sessions with thoughts like:
“This idea is terrible. No agent will represent you.”
“No reputable publishing house will touch this mess.”
“If you think you’re the next Dani Shapiro, you are seriously delusional.”
Writing, for me, has become a chore devoid of the wonder and joy it once held.
Why? Because somewhere along the way, it became about seeing my name in print rather than sharing my ideas and words with the world. It became more about the notoriety than about the craft. It had become an obsession.
I long for the days when my words were only for me. Hidden in the pages of a messy journal where obscure ideas and characters were born.
So this is why I’m giving up on the idea of being published.
I will no longer write with an editor in mind.
I will no longer write with the payoff of a bestseller on my brain.
Instead, I’ll just write. And maybe, just maybe, that bubblegum sass and glory will open that gateway once again.
Woz Flint is a writer, mama, and lover of green olives and toast. After getting her degree in Interpersonal Communication from Ohio University, she made her way to New Mexico where she lives with husband and their 5-year-old son. Her essays have been featured on The Huffington Post and Mamalode.