I intimated in a previous blog that a lack of publishing credits meant failure as a writer. There are many in the writing world who take issue with that sentiment—anyone who’s ever taken a writing course or participated in a writers’ group has probably heard the maxim that we write because it is our passion.
This is only part of the truth.
Don’t try to tell to me it’s about writing for passion alone, for personal satisfaction, and that I shouldn’t be concerned with being published. If that were the case I would keep a diary. If that were the case I wouldn’t bother with a writers’ group or with comments from editors suggesting changes that might make my writing more publishable. I wouldn’t attend writer conferences or subscribe to writer magazines in an effort to improve my craft.
We write to be published. We write to know that someone out there in the reading public shares our views, that our voices are part of the literary conversation. And, to be honest, each rejection a writer receives is a way of saying, “No. What you have to say isn’t important enough to hear.” Writers don’t stop writing because they’ve lost their passion, they write because it seems no one is listening.
We can mitigate that lament somewhat by pointing out the writing industry is inherently unfair. Not enough people read literature, and there are not nearly enough outlets for good writers. Many journals and publishing houses give preference to well-known writers, whatever the quality of the work. Far too many good writers remain unpublished for no other reason than there just isn’t room enough for them in the conversation.
Writers and editors, we must make that room.