On Not Publishing a Book

On Not Publishing a Book

I’ve been telling myself for some time now that I should be satisfied with the act of writing and not be concerned about publication. I’ve absorbed all the advice, usually from writers who already have books out there, not to be concerned about selling. I’ve also convinced myself at times—and it’s true—that writing is a necessity for me, as important as food.  It’s how I nourish myself on all levels.

This approach can somewhat quiet any nagging feelings of anger and regret. It’s called sublimation or suppression, denying the real feelings that are churning underneath.  I’m not sure it’s healthy, but for many of us, it’s the only way to survive.

The truth is, not to publish after spending years working on novels is equivalent to carrying around a stillborn child.  It’s unhealthy, maybe deadly, for the mother, and the work never has an opportunity to reach its audience. I realize that some works might not be of publishable quality and may not have an audience.  But I’m speaking here of books that a few years ago would have been easily published but now aren’t.

Consequently, writers are forced to sublimate their hopes and dreams and find some other way to motivate themselves.  Hope has been the thin thread for many of us, hope that one day a publisher will recognize our talent and open the floodgates of publishing heaven.

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