My journey to publication

A few years ago I wrote the following post as an article for the  Writer Queensland magazine. I still feel the same way, so I thought I would start my writing journey at the beginning  of my reflection on this new life I had chosen.  

I have decided that all writers who seek publication must be masochist (in the broad definition of the word of course). Let’s face it, who else would continually set them selves up for the pain of rejection as often as we do? That we are encouraged to do so by the very people who inflict this pain, and strangely we still succumb to the temptation every time, is quite alarming. Doesn’t that sound like masochism; or maybe it’s insanity?

I have a poster that reads, “The true definition of Insanity is to keep doing the same thing time after time and expect a different result,” and yet I continued to ignore that poster (I’m thinking about turning it around or taking it down) and kept leaving myself open to more rejection.

My daughter, who is studying to be a psychologist, asked me to explain the process of seeking publication, and my feelings as I follow its course. I told her to imagine that she has just applied for the job she knows is her destiny, one that will fulfill her in every way. Then imagine the agony as she waits to see if she is short-listed (in the writers case it can be months, not days, of nail-biting anxiety) only to finally find that she has been rejected once again. 

She then enquired, “Why do you put yourself through this agony.”

The word insanity quickly came to mind but I rejected that – I’m still in denial.  I told her the answer is simple; it is a form of addiction. Since I have taken up writing fiction, it seems I’m addicted to writing. Just a few days away from the story and I’m twitching and making all sorts of excuses to receive my daily fix. And let’s face it, there seems no point writing all these stories if no-one gets to read them. So, like all the other writers around me, I continue to hope that someone out there is interested enough to publish them, and post off another “application for rejection,” as I have started to call them.

I often wonder if the publisher’s editors, who send out so many rejections, sit around and machinate on ways to humiliate writers for a while, to make sure we don’t think we’re too good, and then finally decide we can now have the carrot they have been dangling at us the whole time. I’m joking of course (I hope).

An author, who has self-published, told me that he tired of the publishing treadmill and decided to alight and publish his own book. He wrote, “I realised that if I kept on that way I’d be published posthumously.” I know that feeling.

I decided then to look into partner publishing. Now that opens up a whole new shark tank.  More on that next week.

If you want to leave a comment the ‘Leave a Comment’ button is, confusingly, at the top of the message and I can’t figure out how to put it down here.

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Karen Tyrrell
    May 12, 2011 @ 08:59:48

    Hi Elaine , I definitely can relate to many of your experiences in the Publishing world. I wish you every success with your new positive venture :))


  2. elaineouston
    May 12, 2011 @ 09:37:46

    Thanks Karen. It will be interesting to see how it works out. At the moment it has just been hard work, but hopefully the rewards will be there at the end.


  3. Carol Warner
    May 17, 2011 @ 10:52:24

    My saying is ‘You can’t move forward, by standing still’ Good on you for forging ahead, Elaine. Success is already yours 😉


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