Writing Journal: What If I Never Have a Project Published?

I was thinking last week about one of many projects I’m working on. There have been several times that I go back over something I’ve written and love the “sound” of my writing voice. But then the wheels get to turning and I wonder if anyone else loves my writing voice.

Let’s be honest, I don’t get much traction on either of these blogs, and sometimes I wonder why I keep doing it. But the answer is simple—I do it because I like it. I like putting certain thoughts out into the universe and having something to physically look at to see how my ideas and opinions have changed (or not) over time.

Also, if even one person reads something on one of my blogs and feels a little less alone out there, then that’s enough for me to keep going a bit longer.

But I’m not really talking about my blogs here. I’m talking about this tiny book of essays I’ve got waiting for someone to read it, and this little book of short stories I’m working on, and whatever future novel I decide to dig my heels into writing. What if none of those get published? What if no one wants to read them?

There’s something to be said about self-publishing. I mean, if you want your work out there at any cost it is a viable option. But isn’t the dream to have some big publishing house think you’re awesome and want to pay you for your work and promote it?

That’s my dream. One of many, at any rate.

But what if it doesn’t happen? Am I content with self-publishing? I mean, sure, if my work gets enough attention it could be picked up by a publisher later, but we’re talking about never here. We’re talking about self-publishing and selling 50 books to my parents, a couple family members, a friend or two, and some of my mom’s work friends who would buy a copy just because they love my mother.

What happens then? Do I stop writing? Do I bring myself right back to this empty little blog corner? Do I write something else and try to make it better? What if I can’t write any better?

I know it sounds like I’m being self-deprecating, but I’m really just wondering what my capacity for failure and resilience is.

I know I ask more questions than I give answers, but that’s what life is. Some questions can only be answered through experience.

Happy writing!


Writing Journal: Revealing Too Much

I was reading through some of my essays last week and I had to pause and ask myself if I was saying too much. The essays are based on the way I remember certain events in my life, and some of them deal greatly with other members of my family.

One essay in particular deals with my feelings about being “gifted” a sweatsuit one Christmas when my other cousins got pretty dresses. I touch on how that affected me in general, but also how it made me think of the aunt who gave that gift (still using gift lightly here). Reading over it, I thought of what my aunt or my mom would think about that particular piece, and if it would cause any sort of tension.

See, I have a habit of seriously considering other people’s feelings, sometimes at the expense of my own desires. It goes against the live your truth narrative, but it’s one of my spectacular personality traits (read that sarcastically). So what do I do? And is there really such a thing as revealing too much when the story is about me and how I experience the world?

I guess the first thing to note is that just because I wrote it doesn’t mean someone is going to publish it. But what if I decide to self-publish? Should I allow the individuals who have leading roles in particular essays to read them before I finalize the work? Do I have a responsibility to consider the feelings of others when discussing my personal experiences just because they were involved?

I’m tossing these questions “out there” in hopes that I’ll get the answers I need—be it from you, God, the Universe, or my internal narrator.

What do you think is too much when it comes to writing stories that involve people in your personal life? How do you handle the complexity of it all?

Let me know.

Happy writing!