Hello, fellow dreamers.
Summer is approaching! It’s the season of adventure, travel, and conquering those creative projects. As we grind under sweltering sun and by pools and beaches, sometimes we lack the motivation or the grit to reach our word counts. Even when those battles are won, our art faces the decision of publication–a concept easily distorted.
In completing my first year of university, I learned an immense amount of knowledge regarding my craft . But swimming in the achievement-hungry world of academia, one message became quite clear: Get published as much as possible and as fast as possible if you wish to succeed.
Despite having learned the fault of that logic through my misadventures in self-publishing and almost gifting a half-baked story to a vanity publisher, I fell for this lie again. At first I was inspired and eagerly researched short story contests and magazines. Then my integrity as an author disintegrated as I pumped out a (horrible) fictional short story, titled “Fate Below the Lake.”
The premise was noble (ish). The intended message was deep and relevant. But my methods weren’t mine; they were what I thought editors, contest runners, and readers would enjoy. Instead of writing a good story, I wrote a formulated story. Explicit scenes and dialogue possessed my typing fingers. I forsook character depth and plot diversity for juicy drama.
If I was in it for the money, this might’ve been fine. But the wonder and excitement that comes with composing literature was absent. I read my work, disgusted and uncomfortable. It wasn’t that the writing was awful or unbearable . . . it just wasn’t mine.
The Point? Yes, it is incredibly helpful to get your work published. Professors, agents, publishers, and authors do know what they’re talking about. At the same time, only you know your story. Be sure to write it well. So take that liberty as an artist and use it.