When I entered this world of blogging, I really didn’t consciously have a goal other than to express myself. I have always had a love affair with words and language. You remember that point in high school when conversation turns to “what are you going to do after graduation?” Discussions of careers and colleges filled the air in the cafeteria at lunch. While classmates spoke of wanting to be a lawyer, a doctor or an Indian chief (OK, I lied about that one, but the fingers just wanted to go there), I wanted to be a translator at the UN. It was all about words and language.
I have always “written.” I wrote speeches. I wrote procedural manuals. I created training programs with course books and job aids and all manner of other written materials. I never ventured into the world of fiction and poetry (though I thought my piece on “How to Run Program 50 to Generate an Income Statement” was pretty poetic, if I do say so myself), but I was always putting words together. When I left that world, the words didn’t stop dancing just because the music had stopped.
And then I found blogging. Like many of you, I wrote and hoped that someone would read. As I discovered that there were little communities out here in the blogosphere ( one of the many new words I learned along the way), I realized that there were many for which I was not a good fit. I had very little to say about the trials and tribulations of Mommydom, for example, having left that land behind me long ago in my travels. Then I found Velvet Verbosity’s 100-Word Challenge, and I was off and running. Through the 100-Word Challenge, I met other writers and discovered a community of folks out here who felt as I did about words.
And that brings me to the present and the point of this post. (Bet you thought I’d never get to it, didn’t you?) I know that many of my friends out here are published authors and poets. How could they not be? The talent is sometimes stunning. And I’m sure there are many who would like to be published. The thought has crossed my mind, but only way over there in the farthest corner, near that cupboard where I store my old dreams of being a dancer or actress. I know next to nothing about the world of publishing. But lately, discussions of “getting published” have begun among some of my blogging buddies. And it has opened a real Pandora’s Box of reactions and emotional monsters for me.
Well, of course, who wouldn’t want to be published? Book signings, fans, adulation, awards, movie options, money, not to mention the satisfaction of knowing you did it. That sounds like a bit of paradise for a writer. Yeah, huh? But, oh, this publishing paradise seems to be a very well-guarded land, and from all one hears, the snarling beast at the gate is not at all friendly. Apparently, one needs to approach with extreme caution, at the ready with some truly delicious sops for this Cerberus, cooked just to his liking.
Well, yikes. That sounds pretty damn scary. But, okay, maybe the rewards are worth it. Maybe one can suffer many abortive runs at the gate and limp away with one’s creative ego ragged and bleeding from the vicious attacks, to heal, adjust the recipe, and try again another day. Maybe. And there are some tour guides out here who have made it past Cerberus, and are willing to share their knowledge of his appetites.
But that looses yet another monster from Pandora’s Box. I have nothing to say. The minute someone says to me, write something, and I will critique it for you, well, woosh! There go all the words, all the ideas, all the creativity, running for the hills with their tails between their legs.
And then, oh no, here comes another monster crawling out of the box, that really nasty one who nibbles on your self-confidence. “You are such a freaking coward. Anyone who aspires to publishing success had better have a tough skin. Other people aren’t afraid to try. What’s wrong with you?”
So here I am, beating back the monsters of doubt and indecision, and wondering if I should just slam the lid back onto the box, and go back to being a reasonably content though pathetically unpublished writer of predictable amateurish prose and prosaic poetry (hell, I probably don’t even know what poetry is, with its forms, meters and shapes) , playing here in my safe little blogging sandbox.
(And besides, who could possibly get published with run-on sentences like that last one? Oh, yeah. Well, maybe James Joyce, but I read somewhere that only three or four people ever read Finnegan’s Wake cover-to-cover, and only one of them truly understood it. Joyce himself.)