"Publication is not the reward; the process is the reward." -- Vikki Wakefield
Publication. It's the goal. It's what you do everything for. Or is it?
I keep coming back to these incredible words above from our Community chat with author Vikki Wakefield. I have several clients and friends right now who just want to be published. Publishing is the dream, the goal, the reward. It is the benchmark; the validation. And it makes sense. When you're an unpublished writer publishing can seem like this magical wish-granting unicorn that you would do anything to possess. I remember it well.
When I was writing Pieces of Sky every time I thought of being published I would get this electric, sparkly shot of dopamine right in my centre. I couldn't wait for the day that my book would be on shelves, that I would have readers, and that I would be up on a panel at festivals. That somebody might look at the work I'd been pouring myself into and deem it worthy.
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And yes it was wonderful: receiving notes from my editor, the email that contained my cover, and those first few reviews, but on the other side of that incredible milestone is the realisation that the act of publishing has nothing on the joy of writing. Publishing is business and hustle and sales figures and tiny royalty cheques. Writing is creativity and art and nothing but hours upon hours of you with your story. Yes, publishing is great but it's not the reward, it's not where the joy is in this whole writing malarky the joy is in the words.
And you don't need to be published to experience that. All you need to do is write.
So get writing! Write because you love expressing ideas on the page. Write because you want other people to read what you've written. But most importantly, write for yourself—take your time and savour it. Allow yourself to tip fully into the world you're creating, be obsessed, be greedy, this is the part that is yours and nobody can take it away from you.