WRITERS AND THE CREATIVE JOURNEY
THINKING ABOUT THE CREATIVE JOURNEY
I was corresponding with a Book Coaching client recently on the topic of publishing. As I thought about and responded to the author’s questions, I realized how unique the creative journey is for each creator, including me. Especially now that there are so many options and paths open to creators for reaching the reading public.
THE SHIFTING PUBLISHING LANDSCAPE
So many things have changed and continue to evolve in the publishing world that it’s sometimes hard to keep up!
The days when the only gatekeepers were the huge traditional book publishers are long gone, as are the ways in which many writers were nurtured and their careers tended by editors who’s jobs allowed them to provide a high level of support for creators.
Now, the realm of publishing abounds with stories of authors starting out self-publishing and then moving into traditional deals as well as those who started out with big traditional publishers and then moved on to self-publish, or create their own publishing businesses. There are also numerous creators who do a combination of traditional publishing, small press publishing and self-publishing. Not to mention the successful authors who have only ever self-published but make good to excellent money from their writing.
With illustrators, many of them work in animation as well as children’s publishing. Some do art for covers. Some authors work in online gaming while also publishing their own work through various channels, including self-publishing.
THE UNIQUENESS OF THE CREATIVE JOURNEY
When we venture into the realm of publishing, while we may wonder what the standard journey might look like, the reality is that there really isn’t one single path to publication. When deciding what path to pursue, it would be nice if we could sit down and map out the various avenues and create a chart to guide us based on existing data.
But, to my knowledge, no one has collected such data. And how could they? There are simply too many variables.
Just as no two books/stories are identical, no two people’s publishing journeys are either.
Added to this is the complication that what we see and perceive about other creators and their successes is only what is visible. The tip of the iceberg. Most of the work, the striving, the querying, the rejection, etc., hides beneath the surface. When we see or hear about an author’s debut making a bestseller list or winning an award, it doesn’t include the list of starts and stops, the number of failures, the stacks of unfinished, or finished but unpublished manuscripts languishing in a drawer. It doesn’t take into account the number of years, the amount time, energy, money, and sweat equity, the creator has poured into their work.
As a book coach, in addition to helping make the work easier, cheering on creators, and offering encouragement, support and guidance, one of the most important things I provide is perspective on the creative journey.
So, to any and all creators who feel frustrated, confused, or stymied by a lack of progress. For those who see others seemingly making great strides without pain, or becoming overnight successes, or for whom the planets just seem to align. Stop. Take a breath. Know that you are not alone.
Stay the course, don’t fall prey to comparing your creative and publishing journey with anyone else. Be true to yourself, to the story that you have set out to tell, and the reason you are telling it. Remember why you are doing this work and you will rediscover your joy despite the challenges.
Here’s to joyful creating!