Saturday, June 16, 2007

Publication = Validation

I was in my local library a few weeks ago, and picked up several flyers from the table near the door on my way out. One in particular caught my eye, because it said in bold bright letters: BEGINNING WRITERS WORKSHOP.

While I do not consider myself a beginner, I’m always curious about the local writing scene, so I read on. This workshop was given by a “local best selling author” and would be “an opportunity to talk to an author and get your questions answered.” And the author would be reading excerpts from two novels.

Hmmmm… I’d never heard of this “best selling author” or either book, so I went home and went on Amazon. And yup, there the novels were, both self-published. My Gramma had a saying and it is the most appropriate description for my reaction, “That flew all over me!”

Okay, I don’t know this writer and I mean no disrespect, but why does paying to have your two novels published qualify you to teach a beginning writers workshop? Or ANY workshop, for that matter? If I were a gambling woman, I’d bet that I know just as much about writing (I’ve been doing it long enough!) and submitting for publication as this (and plenty of others) writer. I’d also bet that this so-called “workshop” was simply this writer’s way of selling those self-published novels.

So why don’t I just plunk down my hard earned cash and self-publish one of my novels? I admit, the idea is very tempting. But the short answer is because I still wouldn’t feel “good enough.” I’m sure self-publication is a satisfactory choice for some writers in some instances. Just not for me.

Validation is a concept I struggle with a lot. At any point in time, the pesky doubt demons run rough-shod over my fragile writer-ego and leave me feeling like a Loser, not a Writer. If I’m writing to be read (and is there any other reason to write?), then I need someone to read my stuff in order to feel that I really am a Writer. Simply writing is not “good enough.” I know that in this case publication would NOT give me the validation I seek.

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