I have been haunted today by something I posted last night, that part where I wouldn’t say how long I have been participating in NaNoWriMo because it was embarrassing to have done so much writing and no publishing–to take the straight way to the point.
But I am not embarrassed by my writing. Ever. Because I don’t do it for anyone but me.
It’s a purely selfish pursuit that I refuse to feel badly about as long as I keep it in its place.
Could it be that publishing scares me?
I know I would continue to write even if there wasn’t an icecube’s chance at a bonfire that anyone would ever care about a single word I put on a page. I am driven to it. It settles me, works me through difficulties, helps me find balance, and allows me to remember, look back and learn. I don’t need publication for writing to be important or fulfilling.
However, I have to admit that it would be ever so cool to see Octopus Shoes as a fully illustrated picture book on a shelf in Barnes and Noble. Yes, most definitely that would be way cool.
But is it worth it? The idea of pushing the book–school visits, book signings, etc., etc.–makes introvert-me panic.
There have been times when people have found my writing helpful or inspiring. That is very cool, too. But there are other ways I can provide better, more long-lasting help.
So there is the fear of becoming unbalanced with it. As much as writing is part of my life, it is far from being the thing in my life. There are things of greater priority, my spirituality and my family being two examples. I would never want the headiness of money or “fame” to distract me for one moment from what is truly important.
“But,” says my more adventurous mind, “how do you know you wouldn’t absolutely love working with kids that way. Don’t be a coward.”
Me and my adventurous side get into many squabbles.
It’s not that I don’t like revising and editing or that I am afraid my writing can’t pass muster. I do know what rejection is like, and have moved beyond taking it personally, even on those rare occasions when it is intended to be just that. I think it is the coolest thing to fine-tune expressions and ideas and to know how those expressions come across to readers. I love cutting and pasting, rearranging. I have to force myself to stop with a simple email so that I can push the send button. Don’t ask me how I manage to blog. It’s supposed to make me faster at revision, I suppose. Or help me to let go of perfectionism.
Anyway, I still go back and forth on this idea in my head so much that sometimes it becomes similar to that high-pitched whine of a pesky mosquito.
As a small concession to my adventurous side, I have mustered up the courage to say, this November will mark my 10th NaNoWriMo, and hopefully my 10th win. 50,000 x 10. Wow. Actually one of those years I did two 50,000 word manuscripts…..
Maybe next year should mark the first of 10 years of revising and submitting.
Pardon me, I need to swat a mosquito.
I would love to hear from anyone who has struggles or is struggling with this. I can’t be the only one.