08 January 2009

Myths about writing debunked (no. 1 in a potential series)


Your writing only counts if it gets published.


This myth gets number one status because I detest it so much. Maybe it's only me, but I seem to have spent an inordinate amount of time around people who believe this. It is wrong for many reasons, and I'm going to lay those reasons out like a geometric proof. Ready?

First, this myth condemns a writer to output, regardless of input. Quel pressure!

Second, it puts the focus on external recognition entirely. Why should a publisher's taste be the arbiter of worth?

Third, this myth disregards beginning work -- most writers do not publish their first pieces, but could not get to Work F without getting through Works A-E.

Fourth, it dismisses the internal joy of making up something out of nothing.

Fifth, think of those writers (so many poets!) whose work is not widely published until after they die. What if they had stopped, because of this myth's lame precept?

Finally, what is it, publication, anyway? Individual copies? Something to give out to friends or family? Electronic distribution? A big-name commerical printing? Oprah book club? Open-mic poetry reading?

What if the goal of the writer was simply... to write?

Sufferers of myth no. 1, repeat after me: It counts. It counts. I may not know how at this moment in time but it counts.**

* etymologists, see interesting history of this word
** non-Americans, you are welcome to disregard this portion of the post, if it is too touchy-feely.***
*** You may also disregard "touchy-feely".


  1. www.bookchildworld.wordpress.com8 January 2009 at 16:13

    Great idea for a series, Jeanette.

  2. Of course it counts!
    I would love to read some of your unpublished work :-) Have anything to share?

  3. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



  4. Thanks for reading and commenting, Lillian/Ann. Your comment has reminded me to address some more writing myths....