Yesterday, I went to my writer’s club meeting. One of the speakers at the meeting has authored or c0-authored over 80 books. No, I did not accidentally type an extra “0” — she’s extremely successful at her trade.
She spoke about the publishing world, specifically, how to get a publishing contract. She talked a lot about — wait for it — platform — and how essential it is to bring your own national audience nowadays.
I already knew most of what she said, but there was something about that talk that made me incredibly depressed afterward. I’m not sure why. I left the meeting feeling absolutely down in the dumps.
I don’t care if I make one dime as a writer. I’d love to make money, but that’s not why I do it. I don’t want to publish for fame or fortune. I don’t want to write a book because I want to be on a talk show, or see my name in lights.
I want to publish a book because I have a story in my heart, and I think that telling it might help others. But while I sit here, putting the final touches on my book proposal, with the hopes that by mid-May I can start querying agents, I’m really beginning to wonder about what happens if nothing happens? What happens if I can’t get an agent? What will happen to my goal?
I want to write because I love writing, but I want to do it well. I want the bylines. I want to be published in widely read publications. I don’t care about the money, I don’t care about the fame, but I DO care about being a success. I’ve been this way my whole life — if I’m going to to something, I have to do it really, really well.
So I’m asking myself now, if I never get a book published, or never get published in a big national publication, will I still feel the same about writing? Am I shallow enough that if I can’t become more widely published as a writer, then I’ll just give up? Or will my love for writing always be enough?