I realized something about myself the other day. I’ve been writing since I was a kid. So why haven’t I published a string of books yet?
Narcissistic Bio (Feel free to skip this paragraph to get closer to the point arrived at below): I went to journalism school. I wrote for newspapers and magazines. I worked in book publishing for five years in several positions, making books, editing books, selling books and promoting books. I’ve written a column for a magazine for three years. I submitted to and won writing awards or honorable mentions. And yet…I never pushed to get a book written. I have written several books, but I never got to the point with one where I was satisfied enough. For a long time I thought this was just laziness or perfectionism or both. Even as I edited other people’s books, I still had my own cooking in the background. But I never sent out manuscripts or pestered agents or got anything really done, except short stories and feature articles, speeches and presentations. I’ve written about writing extensively, attended publishing conferences and writing workshops, chewed through publishing issues and edited several books this year for Five Rivers Chapmanry. I’m proud of all these things and enjoy them.
But everything I’ve accomplished centered around tasks with a short deadline, stuff that paid up front, stuff that required short bursts of intensity. I wasn’t working on my personal long term writing and publishing dreams. I wasn’t digging in to do the long hail work. It’s as if I’ve been mixing dough, letting it rise, shoving it in the oven and letting it bake…and never eating any bread.
I used to think that I wanted to be a writer because I love literature. I read and read and read and still can’t get enough, it’s true. (At least some of the above headline is supposed to be ironic, folks!) Obviously I don’t hate literature, but I don’t love literature as much as I thought I did. If I loved it all that much for its own sake, I would have either settled for reading tons of books without thoughts of my own. Or I’d have finished those revisions and delivered my stuff over publishers’ transoms. I would have added to slush piles and wallowed in rejection slips until I finally started breaking through. I didn’t do that. I raised kids, did piece work, indulged another career, dabbled around the edges and did other stuff.
So why self-publish now? I was disillusioned with the failures of traditional publishing when I worked within it (another post for another time.) I loved reading, still do. I love that floaty feeling you get when you write, go deep and a story comes together.
But these loves weren’t enough on their own.
I’m self-publishing now because ebooks have finally arrived. I can finally indulge my loves as well as my need to remain independent. Clearly, I’ve got a problem with authority.
My motto is Question authority before authority questions you. I do not wear a tie and I’m the kind of dog who pulls out of his collar.
Love of literature wasn’t enough. Love of literature plus love of self plus digital opportunity was the ticket.
Control freaks! Unite!
(Ahem…well, do what you want. Far be it from me to tell you what to do.)
(I didn’t know I was waiting for)
- Support authors. Buy books. (chazzwrites.wordpress.com)
- Writing Conference: 10 Bad things (chazzwrites.wordpress.com)
- Life & book marketing update shouted from a speeding car (chazzwrites.wordpress.com)
- How to edit without reading (chazzwrites.wordpress.com)
- Narcissistic personality disorder/ Encyclopedia of Mental Disorder (protectivemothersalliance.wordpress.com)
- 5 Things I’ve Learned about Publishing (and about myself) (westernthm.wordpress.com)
- Four Traits of Successful Writers (Besides, You Know, Writing Ability) (chazzwrites.wordpress.com)