“The act of writing is more important than the fate of the writing.”
These words, emblazoned in bold letters on a sheet of paper have sat, tacked to the wall above my writing desk for the last six months.
*Note: This is piece from my archives. It was originally written in April 2010*
They were discovered in an article by science fiction writer, James Van Pelt, and immediately struck a chord with this writer who, at the time, was simply struggling write.
As thoughts often strayed from working on a first novel to fantasising about the grand launch of this yet-to-be-completed book and all the fame and adulation that would surely be forthcoming, I would gaze intently at these words, a reminder of just why I started writing in the first place.
It had nothing to do with marketing my fiction, nothing to do with book launches or bestsellers lists. It had nothing to do with fame nor fortune, it had everything to do with the love of words and a passion for the act of writing.
Now, don’t get me wrong, sometimes it is nice to fantasise about reaping rewards and reverence. Dreams are what keep our hopes alive and there’s nothing wrong with dreaming.
Yet when sat at the computer, or wherever you write, all thoughts must be banished to the back of your mind. They must be locked tightly away to make room for all those thoughts and ideas, words and images that will make up your writing, to come flooding forth.
When I started on my novel, almost immediately I came up with unique ways to market my work, and when I wasn’t writing, I’d occasionally allow such ideas to run around in my mind in the belief that dreaming about the end product would spur me on to finishing my book.
As soon as I started work however, whether I was physically putting words together or taking time out for a cigarette break, I concentrated only on my characters, my plot and my settings.
At least I did once I stuck those thirteen wonderful words above my desk and stared at them daily, realising that without getting suck in to the act of writing, the fate of the writing would be virtually non-existent.
After all, readers don’t really care how you market your fiction, that’s for your publishers to worry about. All the readers care about is the writing, and if you’ve spent so long coming up with great marketing ideas for your fiction writing, there’s every chance you could end up neglecting the fiction writing all together.