Today I got an email from another small literary journal that enjoyed a story I wrote a few months ago, so I decided I wanted to share my thoughts and feelings about what the publishing process means to me.
For the longest time, I aimed for publication. I thought it was the only way to reach success, but as I got older, and I wrote more, I realized, for me, writing isn’t about being published or how many people read a story. Writing is about sharing the things I’ve experienced in a way that helps me, like therapy.
I won’t lie, though. It’s pleasant when someone appreciates what I’ve put on paper. I enjoy getting those letters or emails saying someone loved reading my story, but that isn’t what I’m always looking for. It doesn’t compare to what it feels like when a story helps me get through something I’m experiencing. A lot of what I write deals with things that happened in my life that I still struggle with, and when I put it on paper, it’s like the words lift a weight off my chest.
However, I realized having stories published doesn’t make me a better writer. I realized it’s the process that helps me the most. I appreciate the amount of rejection in the publishing world. Early on, I figured out rejection is one of the best ways for me to become a better writer. Every time I send something to a publisher who rejects me, I’m given the ability to see how I need to improve what I’m doing. If I get rejected, I appreciate it more than when I’m published the first try. Rejection pushes me to study my writing and find any way possible to improve my story.
So published or not, writing will always be something I love to do, and I’ll continue writing no matter what happens.