From The Creative Penn:
As a pastime, the process of writing has a poor reputation for delivering happiness.
It’s lonely, isolating and fattening (all that unrestricted access to the biscuit tin). At their most candid, most writers will confess to an obsession with their work that can border on paranoia, to being jealous – or just plain difficult (often because they feel unappreciated) – and there is a well established link between writing and depression. Those who spend too much time alone risk compromising their social skills, although this process is not helped by the generally good manners of publishers and agents. It’s so easy to miss/misread the signals they put out, and the time frame in which they say they will respond, or actually do, is never quite the same as our urgent need to know.
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Looking back, if there is a common theme to this experience it is probably the prevailing atmosphere of anxiety: authors watching what others are receiving (book deals/marketing attention/number of kisses); experiencing guilt – they should be at home writing rather than out talking; pondering the implied meaning/level of hostility from the last person who posed a question (most of us go away and dwell on such things for far longer than is helpful).
All of which made engaging with the world of self-publishing a very interesting experience. I recently embarked on close examination of the self-publishing sector, having become aware just how fast it was developing.
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It seems to me that writers who self-publish are happier than those going through the conventional route.
Maybe it’s the motivation that comes from finally doing something – and being liberated from waiting for calls/emails that don’t come. Maybe it’s the anticipation of knowing a long-cherished project is within sight. Or perhaps they are just enjoying being the client of one of the highly professional self-publishing firms that today offer expert guidance through the options available, and whose attention they can confidently claim because they are paying.
Building on this, and to my great surprise, their contentment levels were not necessarily tied to the beauty of the finished product. Industry professionals have long assumed that only products that closely resembled their own output – content blended with appropriate format for optimum presentation – could offer any degree of satisfaction.
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A view of writing as only valid if it can be sold through bookshops shows little understanding that self- publishing is a process, not a single product. Overall, the self-publisher’s motivation is vastly more complicated than has previously been assumed.
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Self-publishing offers a method of ensuring material survives – whether to the next stage of the creative process, or for all time. And knowing your work has been preserved for later discovery allows you to move on with your life – or whatever you want to create next.
Link to the rest at The Creative Penn