Dear End Goal,
You are publication, ultimately, but also just desire to have finished the work.
At a recent writer’s group meeting a friend proposed that one of our greatest crutches as writer’s might be impatience. The hallelujahs started in my head at the suggestion. The mouse maze of my own impatience had been really effing things up for me lately.
It doesn’t help that we live in a fast-paced world where not even children are content to spend hours aimlessly wandering their neighborhoods in pursuit of whatever daydreams emerge. Boredom, a place where any end goal seems dangerously out of reach is a necessary step on the path to creation.
What’s the maximum number of drafts you’re willing to write? How long can you sit staring at a blank page before you say fuck-it and go on with the rest of your day? How many different publications are you willing to get rejections from before you stop trying? Are you contemplating self-publishing?
In part, we want to publish so we can finally be done, when we should really want to publish because we’ve walked away from the work, come back to it and felt even after that distance that yes what we’ve written is good and ought to go out into the world.
What I’m trying lately is to work on projects at different levels. Now, I have a story I’m just about ready to send out, a novel I’m reading after putting away for a while and gathering feedback on, and a new draft of a new novel I’m meandering through. The novel I am reading and gathering feedback on I will start editing in the fall.
End-goal, when it comes to writing fiction you need to be flexible and rooted more in the work itself than any outcome in regard to publication, which requires infinite reserves of patience.