As a published author, it’s easy to get caught up in all the extraneous details. I know it happens to me. So please excuse me while I preach to myself for the next 300 words.
Let me see if I’ve got this right. You started out with the kernel of an idea—raw inspiration—and you ran with it. Pure creativity. But then you edited your manuscript. You spent hours perfecting your vision. You took workshops and attended conferences to improve your craft. Maybe you even shelved a beloved novel because you knew it simply wouldn’t sell. You queried agents, worked with publishers, and edited some more. And then, when your novel went to print, you set down to the nitty gritty of marketing so other people would read your work. Sigh. Marketing. Because unless you’re a unicorn of an author, you probably don’t find that this comes naturally.
Somewhere along the line—that endless train of editing, querying, marketing, blogging, etc, etc, etc—you probably stopped and said, “Wait a second. This is not what I had in mind.”
What happened to the love of a fresh sheet of paper and a bright idea? What happened to the joy of a blinking cursor and the tap of your fingers on the keys? What happened to shaping visions into words so that other people can have a window into your mind?
Don’t get me wrong: all those other things are important too. You have to edit. You have to keep learning. And if you want anyone to read your work, you have to publish and market.
But don’t let yourself get so bogged down in the business of writing that you lose sight of the reason you started writing in the first place.
Take time as often as possible—even before you get to the business side—to do the things that made you fall in love with writing. Do what you love. Write what brings you joy. Spill out the words that bring you healing.
Because that’s what people want to read, after all.
Erin E.M. Hatton is the author of Otherworld and Across the Deep, winner of the 2014 Free Publishing Contest for Fiction. She has also authored several short stories and novellas. She graduated from Redeemer University College and lives in Barrie, Ontario with her husband Kevin and four children.
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