I had a phone conversation with my dad earlier this week and mentioned that I enjoy blogging. He asked whether I’d been trying to find a literary agent and get my writing published. I said no, and then the conversation moved on to other topics. But I was surprised by the intensity of my gut reaction, which was along the lines of, “No, I don’t need to beg any agents or publishers to validate my writing. I am so totally over that!”
Given that I hadn’t actually submitted any manuscripts to literary agents in a very long time, and not much even then, I wondered why such feelings had popped up all of a sudden. Way back when the Internet Age began, I got involved with online creative writing groups and posted stories to their lists. Many of their members dreamed of being traditionally successful published authors, and they polished their works with great care before submitting to agents.
One guy sold a novel and was thrilled—until the publisher chopped up the story beyond recognition in the editing, while randomly adding the word “Sex” to the title. After he had a few local book-signing appearances, his poor abused novel mercifully expired, going to its literary graveyard with no second printing.
After that I didn’t give much thought to conventional book publishing—well, at least not consciously. Something must have been going on beneath the surface, though, or I wouldn’t have reacted to my dad’s question as I did. I ruminated for a while over what it might have been, and finally I put it in the general category of sorting the what-comes-next uncertainty.
That is to say, like many of us, I’ve had my job for years and it is well suited to my temperament and skills; but in today’s fast-paced world, people don’t expect to keep the same job forever. As a result, we’re left feeling unsettled about not having a better idea of what comes next. A lot of subconscious processing goes on as we try to work through all the complicated factors involved, which include cultural views of success.
So, I’d guess that my “so totally over that” reaction meant I had been subconsciously considering whether I might want to be a traditionally published author in the future—or, perhaps, whether I still had much interest in conventional notions of success carried over from many years ago, in general. Apparently, without even being aware of it, I already had answered that question in the negative. I’ll take that as the voice of my intuition offering wise guidance!