The Luxury of Being Unpublished
September 10, 2010 § 18 Comments
I just finished the first draft of a short story. It’s over six thousands words as it stands and I’ll probably add (and cut) parts. It is my longest short story to date.
I’m fairly certain I won’t submit it to any market for publication. It makes me feel like a naked, horrible person and I was terrified to write it.
For the record, I am a horrible person.
Why did I write it? I had to. I wanted to. Will I keep working on it? Yes.
YA author Hannah Moskowitz wrote an interesting blog post that garnered a lot of discussion throughout the blogosphere about who YA authors write their books for. You can read it here. She posed a lot of interesting questions about the corner YA authors have put themselves in. She questioned who the authors wrote for: the YA writing community or teens? Like I said, they were all interesting questions and I considered them.
What I decided after mulling it all over was this: Who cares?
I don’t mean this to be disrespectful, but if we’re writing to please friends/or teens/whoever your readership may be, then we’re writing for the worst reasons.
I’m not published. I don’t have anyone waiting for me to edit my latest draft (except a few disgruntled beta readers). I’m not cornered into any one genre. I love almost all genres and enjoy reading any story that make me think.
I realize WILL THIS SELL? is the biggest question for publishers, but I am not a publisher. I’ve heard horror story after horror story about a manuscript that an agent falls in love with, fights for, and for whatever reason, it doesn’t sell.
I won’t pretend to know what that’s like and imagine it is akin to being kicked in the face by a man in lederhosen.
I don’t want to diminish the author’s and agent’s hard work and if I’m ever in that situation, I’m sure it will break my heart.
But I’m not there. I’m tired of writing a humorous blog post or serious short story with the hopes it will be read by a friend I admire or look up to. I’m tired of writing for validation and approval. The past six months have been a tad wonky in my writing perspective and I’m through writing for other people.
After reading a chapter from a WIP of mine, a critique group member told me he wished I was twenty years older. He wanted me to finish working out whatever it is I’m working out and write more of “this.” I’d have to agree with him. I can’t wait to be twenty years older (well…let’s go with ten) and have a better sense of what kind of writer I am.
For the moment, I will simply enjoy figuring it out. I will explore genres and write whatever comes to heart. This was not a funny post. The next one will be funny. I promise.