Friday, October 24, 2014

What's the Point if I Never Get Published?

Image courtesy of holohololand at
As evidenced by my continuous collection of bumps and bruises, I am not a graceful person.  I managed to sprain the same ankle four times in one week.  I have pretty terrible hand-eye coordination.   If my life depended on my ability to play sports, I would die.  All sports except one, that is.
I love to swim.

In water, I feel a sense of grace and capability that I don’t feel anywhere else.  I love the feeling of the water rushing over me, the sensation of lightness—when I am in the water, I feel as though I have always belonged there.  I feel strong and powerful as my muscles propel me; I feel exhilarated when I flip from the backstroke to the front stroke.  My heart pounds from the effort and my lungs work in perfect sync with the rhythm of my motions.

I have always loved the water.  One of my favorite fantasy creatures is the mermaid, and when I swim, I feel like I am connecting with the deepest sense of childlike wonder that fantasy evokes.

If you haven’t gotten the idea, I love swimming.  It’s my favorite form of exercise, and I’m pretty competent.  But I am no Michael Phelps.  Heck, I can’t even keep up with half the people who swim at the Y that I go to.  My skills are limited, at best.  Sometimes, I’m a little self-conscious when a person in the lap lane next to me puts in three laps to my one.  My love for swimming itself is what keeps me from getting discouraged.  I always strive to improve my lap time.  I always strive to practice better form. 

So, answer me this:  What’s the point of all that swimming if I never make it to the Olympics?  What’s the point of the practice?  What’s the point in trying?

The answer is obvious.  The whole point of it is the fact that I absolutely love to swim.  I actually feel depressed when I have to go long periods without swimming.  I want to get better at swimming because it is a gift to myself.  The physical exercise makes me strong and healthy.

Swimming is the point.

So, what’s the point of writing if I never get published?

Writing is the point.

I write because I love to write.  That’s the point of it.  I feel depressed when I don’t get any writing done.  I want to get better at writing because it is a gift to myself.  The mental exercise keeps my mind sharp and healthy.

I have always loved writing and storytelling.  If you love to write, chances are that you’ve always loved it too.  That’s the point.  You do it because you love it.  If you’re not writing because you’re worried that you won’t get published, then you are doing two things:
1. You guarantee that you won’t be published.  If you’re not writing, how are supposed to be published?

2. You overlook the only thing that matters about writing.
It’s good to hope that you might be published someday.  It’s good to have a goal.  You work hard at your writing, and you’d like to get paid for it at some point in the future.  But really, being published is the cherry on top.

Because the whole point of writing is writing.

Do you find yourself discouraged because you’re worried that you might never be published?  What ways can you overcome that discouragement?  Share any thoughts or questions in the comments. 

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