Sunday, April 20, 2008

If You Decided to Do It, Then It's Valid

What makes a book "publishable"?

We're told all that's required to get published is that we write a good book, but what does "good" mean?

I define "good" in this context to mean "enjoyable to others", but that's where the diversity of humanity comes in, because different people enjoy wildly different things. One person will read anything that has a great voice; another insists on an exciting plot; another wants magnificent writing foremost. One person's "good" is another person's "trashy drivel" or "pompous navel-gazing".

So if "good" can mean many things, what does "publishable" mean?

"Publishable" means the publisher can make a profit on that book. You can be a weak writer on a variety of fronts, and if there are enough people out there willing to buy your work, then it's publishable.

Conversely, you can be a spectacular writer and have your work still not be publishable. If there's only twenty-three people in the world brilliant enough to enjoy your writing, then it's not publishable.

But it's still worthy.

Your writing is valid, and valuable, even if it's not publishable. What you are doing has worth, even if it isn't considered to be worth money. By writing, you are sharpening your opinions and purging your emotional poisons. You are exercising your mind and proving your abilities to yourself. You're making worlds out of pure imagination, and that's pretty freakin' awesome, even if it isn't saleable.

By writing, you're engaging in one of only a handful of pursuits that make human beings great. Seriously: what you're doing is part of why you deserve to be called a person. This makes you alive in a way that simply eating and breathing don't. Compared to this, money is beside the point.

So keep writing and keep creating--and good luck in your pursuit of publication, too, because it's not like that isn't a worthy endeavour. Anything that helps you to become your best is; just remember that it's the writing that makes you amazing--not whether or not other people are willing to buy it.


And in other news, a pigeon laid an egg on our deck. :-)

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