|Photo credit: revbean on Flickr|
And it's a fair dream—an exciting, if not slightly nerve-wracking one, to think of hundreds or thousands of people reading the story that you wrote. The story that you spent years of your life writing. The story that would not exist if you hadn't written it.
But I've seen this question asked before, and truth be told, at the beginning of my journey as a writer, I didn't want to answer it. I saw writers ask, "Would you keep writing if you knew you were never going to be published?" and I thought, well I'm not going to answer that because I am going to get published.
Well it's been years since I've first seen that question and I'm still not published, but the question has never really left my mind. And I think the reason I didn't want to answer it at first was because I wasn't sure I would keep writing. Without the dream, I thought, what was the point?
Years and many archived manuscripts later, I think I've come to terms with the question. Because no, there isn't any guarantee that I'm ever going to get published (traditionally, anyway) and I've come to realize that I'm ok with that. Sure, it's still a dream I hold on to and I truly believe that with enough patience and hard work, any writer can see their dream realized, but there isn't ever a 100% guarantee unless you self-publish (and even then, there's no guarantee that it'll sell).
So now when I see the question "would you keep writing if you knew you were never going to be published?" I think I can answer with a yes. Because no, I probably wouldn't put as much work and time into each story as I do now, but I truly don't believe I would stop writing altogether.
Because writing is more than just chasing the dream: writers write to discover the story, to create new characters and worlds and turn our experiences into words on the page that we can read over and over again and share with others (even if, in the case of the never-published writer, "others" is just a handful of friends and family).
Because yes, every writer hopes to one day get published but that's not the only reason we write (or at least, it shouldn't be)—we write because we love it. Because there's something truly special about translating experiences into words, about using just the right combination of letters to create pictures and emotions in our readers.
Because a writer without words is like a bird without wings. Because published or not, writing is what we writers do.
Now it's your turn: Would you keep writing if you somehow knew you would never get published?