Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Up On My Soapbox

Instead of a nice, coherent post, I'm just going to list some thoughts at random. Why? Because I had a medium Dunkin' Donuts iced coffee for lunch and nothing else and am thus totally wired. My caffeine/sugar crash is imminent.

Oh pale, stubby, caffeine-infused fingers, type quickly!

Apparently several friends of mine read this blog but do not follow it because they don't have blogger accounts. And to those friends I say: if you are going to read about liquids seeping out of my face then you should at least have the decency to comment on those posts and make fun of me properly, as good friends should.

While on the phone with me today, my mom received a package. She said, "Jesus, it's just one bra. Does it really need that entire box? I mean, how big can it be?" Which was the first thing I heard today that made me laugh. Why did I ever in my ignorant, prepubescent ballet dancing days, think I could grow up to be flat chested? It was never meant to be.

The Bra Box with coffee mug for size reference:

I read Jack Estes' Soapbox article in Publisher's Weekly. In it he says, "If you are writing to be published, if that's your goal, you're probably writing for the wrong reasons...Writing is for oneself, for one's soul."

I've heard this sentiment repeated over and over again--usually by published authors and other people whose job it is to publish books. I understand the sentiment but I don't think people are wording it properly.

I think what Estes and others mean to say (at least I HOPE) is that writers should not write with the expectation of getting published, because being published is a privilege. You can't earn it just by spending loads of time toiling at your computer, often late into the night while neglecting your loved ones.

That being said, I think writers should and in fact MUST write with the hope of being published. Publishing is how writers share their work with others. If an author doesn't have any desire to share her work, no desire to refine her story and characters in order to communicate her ideas to others, then she might as well just keep a journal. If all writers felt that way--that they were just writing in a vacuum, for themselves--there would be no need to revise. No need to improve. No need to achieve anything beyond putting raw words on the page and declaring the roast well done without ever having turned on the oven.

So industry professionals and published authors, PLEASE stop lecturing us on how we should be writing "for ourselves." If we do not write with a desire to be read, then we shouldn't be writing at all.


  1. Absolutely agree about writing with the hope of being published. Yes, some people are perfectly content to write and never attempt to publish, but those of us who are making the attempt, do so because we want to share our stories with as many people as possible. So hope, not expectation.

    Or perhaps they mean 'people who write only to be published and famous, with no care for quality or a love of writing.'

  2. And the people who are perfectly content to write and never attempt to publish are NOT the ones reading Publishers Weekly.