So I’m going to get a little philosophical for my post this week. I think as writers in the query trenches, whether you’re querying something new or taking a break to write something you plan on querying, that we place too much weight on the end goal of being published.
But wait! Don’t get me wrong. Just like every other writer out there, I dream of being published one day. Not only is it a dream for me, it’s a goal. It’s the boon at the end of my journey. It’s the thing I want most in this wacky world I call home. And I want it not just for me, but for someone else as well. Someone who no longer can achieve our shared goal.
So please, hear me out.
Last year around this time, I heard about a local writers conference. I spent the next week prepping my novel for it, thinking I had this great shot at landing an agent. I spent an entire week doing nothing but that, and when I got to the conference, I found I was grossly underprepared. I then spent the entire summer after that rewriting the novel and querying again, but I was missing the essential pieces. When I kept getting rejection after rejection, I gave up. I stopped writing daily and got sucked into the weekly grind of working retail until I reached the point that I hadn’t written for months.
When NaNoWriMo 2012 came, it was like the floodgates unleashed. I was completely swallowed up by writing GYRE because I hadn’t written anything for so long. I was writing until the early hours of the morning, during classes, and between orders at work. I was writing every chance I got, because I had forgotten how much fun writing for myself was, how therapeutic it was.
Am I saying that querying this time last year was time wasted? Of course not! I learned so much about the road to landing an agent and trying to get published, and I also took the path that led me here today to write this to you all. If I hadn’t spent months trying to query CHRISTINE VENOM and pitch it at every contest I could get my hands on, if I hadn’t done WriteOnCon or attempted Pitch Wars or talked about Cupid’s Quiver/WanWc on Twitter, I wouldn’t even be here today.
I guess what I’m trying to get at is this: yes, publication is the dream, it is the goal we all have. But isn’t it worth it to enjoy the journey as much as the prize at the end? Query if you’re ready to query, but roll with the rejections and keep writing. And I know, I know—easier said than done. Believe me, I know. But we’re all in this for the same simple thing: storytelling. It’s what we’re all born to do. It’s what we’re all good at. A subjective business shouldn’t stand in the way of us telling stories—so don’t let it.
Just write. And write and write and write until all of the words are out. Until all the heroes finish their quests. Until even the bad guys get a happy ending.
Do it because it’s what you were meant to do, because it’s fun.
And don’t give up on publishing if the going gets tough. Why?
Because if it were easy, it wouldn’t be worth it.