I’m not feeling well today and it’s a rule of mine that I don’t write when I’m sick. Instead I’m going to borrow the words of the wonderful Anne Lamott, author of Bird by Bird, for this week’s newsletter.
Are you desperate to get published?
Anne is a teacher as well as a writer and says, “The problem that comes up over and over again is that these people (her students) want to be published. The kind of want to write, but they really want to be published.”
She says it’s hard to hear, but publishing shouldn’t be the end goal.
“Almost every single thing you hope publication will do for you is a fantasy, a hologram…What’s real is that if you do your scales every day, if you slowly try harder and harder pieces, if you listen to great musicians play music you love, you’ll get better.”
Writing small pieces often is like doing your scales on the piano! Your writing gets better and better, and that’s the goal.
Successful writers, she says, “feel a great sense of amazement that they get to write, and they know that this is what they want to do for the rest of their lives.”
I’d have to agree. It’s nice to be published, of course, but the fact that I get to write most days feels incredible to me. I love that writing exists and that there are other writers in the world producing wonderful work that I get to read daily.
“My gratitude for good writing is unbounded,” says Lamott. “I’m grateful for it the way I’m grateful for the ocean. Aren’t you?”
This month in the Creative Nonfiction Academy we are focusing on “The structure of our essays.” If that’s something you struggle with, feel free to join in for the month (it’s just $20USD for one month)
Have a great week!