While some people may automatically dismiss me as a serious author because I self-published, that point of view fails to impress me. I’m no less proud of my writing than I would be if I’d jumped through the hoops of traditional publishing. Here’s where I’m coming from: I did jump through all the hoops for a career that never happened. I got the education, I did the practical, I had the personality, I just never got much more of a chance to do anything other than what I could offer for free. Not only did I find my chosen profession to be closed to me, I learned it’s a dying profession. Which it doesn’t have to be, if only ‘the powers that be’ would open up to a new generation of leadership, something they are adamantly against. It took me far too long to realize that all the ‘encouragement’ I was getting was nothing more than empty words. I would have preferred honesty. The work I did for no pay was incredibly well received; perhaps that was the problem, I may have been too popular with the people who should have mattered most. I have to say it–there was an old boys’ club that had its unspoken, ‘No Girls Allowed’ rule.
At any rate, by the time I realized I’d wasted years and far too many resources going in that direction, I wasn’t willing to go through anything like it again. (Waiting for God knows how many years for a publisher to even look at my manuscript because they’re swamped with material seemed like pretty much the same thing.) Retail is not wanted I wanted to do for a career. Retail was only supposed to be a fill-in, until the ‘real’ career came about. I had no intention of getting into management, it just sort of happened; one of the dangers of being too competent, I suppose. Actually, it wasn’t very different from a lot of what I would have been doing if the career I’d wanted had materialized. Now I’m starting to think I was fortunate. I may not have enjoyed what I first thought was supposed to be my profession.
I have found my passion. I love writing. It’s incredible. It doesn’t even seem like work to me (except for two things, editing, and when a computer program acts up.) I write well, and I am proud of it. But I also have the kind of personality that allows other people to accept that without being offended. At least when I’m talking to them in person, people sometimes take a different slant than what was meant when they read something. I try to only offend those who truly deserve it. 😉
Part of the result of this ego tripping is that I find a certain viewpoint very annoying and just plain wrong. The so-called ‘experts,’ who insist writing is hard, tiring work, drive me nuts. Those same people often discount inspiration. No wonder writing is hard for them, they’re uninspired, boorish know-it-alls. They make such an effort trying to impress you with how hard they’re working, they miss out on the fun and enjoyment of writing. (I bet they hate reading, too! I don’t have many ‘professional’ writing tips to pass on, but here’s my favorite: Read well, write well. If you want to write a comic, read good comics, if you want to write mysteries, read good mysteries…you get the idea.) I once dropped a writing course because the ‘author’ of the textbook insisted on a complicated series of writing, rewriting, editing, taking time away from the manuscript, doing the dishes, more rewriting, walking the dog, editing some more, ad naseum… A few chapters into it, I had no respect for her attitude and less for her treatment of the subject matter. She also completely discounted inspiration.
Now if that works for you, as a writer, go for it. Personally, I doubt you’ll ever get into print, self or otherwise, but you have to do what works for you. I tend to be overly ruthless when it comes to editing, so I have to be careful. If I followed that cycle, I’d have nothing left of my manuscripts. Maybe she was so highly competitive, that was the whole point.
How can someone still have pride in their writing when they discount things like inspiration? Isn’t that something we consider a ‘good’ word in a review of a book, recording or movie? “It was inspired,” we want to read. Conversely, writers and performers don’t want to see the word, ‘uninspired,’ which is often paired with, ‘tired,’ in a review of their work. (Writers love actors, they make all our dreams come true.) 😉
It might be different if I was a bad writer, but I know I’m not. My readers enjoy my work and are asking me for more. What I’m objecting to is an archaic attitude that insists you have nothing to be proud of if you go through a self-publishing company. One argument says it’s like someone building his own college–but even if you do that, you still have to get accreditation for such a college before you can give out legitimate diplomas. Otherwise you’re wasting your resources, just like I did when I was trying to get into the career that never happened. Sometimes the ‘official gatekeepers’ are little more than old boys’ clubs; they look for ways to exclude people, and tell them they have nothing to be proud of when they achieve success anyway.
Thanks for reading. 🙂
Phyllis K Twombly