I once read a truly fabulous piece of advice;
‘Never ask a single person if they’re “seeing anyone special”, an unemployed person if they’ve found a job, or a married couple when they’re planning to have children. You’re not making conversation. You’re starting someone on the road to Prozac.’ – Page 341-2, A Total Waste of Make-up, Kim Grunenenfelder, 2005, Piatkus Books Ltd*.
To this I would like to add, ‘Never ask an aspiring author if they are published yet.’
Yesterday, an acquaintance I had not seen in a month, asked if I was published yet. I could have answered, ‘Would I still be sitting at work if I was?’ I could have explained that the road to publishing involves years of dedication, regular practice of the craft, a great story, better editing and then a little piece of luck to manage to have the completed work seen by the right person, at the right time.
Instead, I simply replied, ‘No.’
Those two simple letters convey a world of information and yet, in this case, are not something to be concerned with. No, I am not published, and no, it won’t happen this year. But writing, as it is with life, is a journey, not a destination.
Being published does not guarantee happiness, nor does it guarantee that you will be published again. It will not make you a better person, even if it ticks something off your bucket list.
Writing, on the other hand, can make you a happier person, if you enjoy the process. But that happiness should not be dependent on publication**. Writing makes me happy. It is a simple fact which has been confirmed a number of times over. Stories, whether written or read, are an essential part of my day.
So while I will continue to work towards publication, I refuse to look only at the destination; I will enjoy the journey as well.
*A Total Waste of Make-up is not only a story of trying to figure out the dating scene, but it is filled with advice and dating rules, all written down for the character’s future great-great-grand-niece.
**Although I doubt any aspiring author would turn down publication.