Wednesday, May 6, 2015

What it Means to Publish- Thoughts on Releasing Part of Yourself to the World

'Vulnerable Heart' by Angela (pixeldust007)

I remember the first story I ever wrote. I was around nine and like many little boys in the 90s I loved Star Wars. One day, I decided to take a pencil and paper and write a story about how the rebels found their base on Hoth. The plot of this early fan-fic revolved around Luke Skywalker being shot down by a star destroyer. He crash landed on the ice planet and after wandering around trying to avoid snow troopers he found the massive cave complex that would provide the rebels with their haven.

Like so many kids, my initial enthusiasm for this passion waned and I never finished what I started. So many of my projects followed the same path over the next sixteen years. I finished some pieces. Sometimes I would take care of the first-draft, occasionally I would make it through an edit or two and there were a number of short Facebook notes, and blog-posts that I would share for the wider world. Yet there were so many other works that just sat half-baked and completely forgotten in a folder on my computer. And, until I finished the last edit of my Native American Fantasy novel, 'Only the Sky is Forever', I had never reached the stage of publishing a piece of fiction.

It's one thing to share what you've written with those close to you. That in and of itself is courageous in my opinion. Many of those who write never reach that stage and I understand why. Writing always comes from the soul. It's a segment of what goes on inside you. Showing part of the real you is never easy. However, putting your official stamp on something and telling the world 'Hey, this book I wrote, I want you to buy it.', that's even more daunting, at least to me. You're telling others, your voice is worth something. You're proclaiming that your soul, the piece of yourself that is etched in those words, is worth buying for three dollars.

As the author, you're intimidated. You have a much larger expectation to live up to. You're worried. You ask yourself many different questions: Is this story really worth sharing? Will anyone buy this part of me? Will anyone care? Will anyone absolutely despise it?

These thoughts went through my head at different times throughout the past few weeks as I thought about the imminent publication of my book. I have a feeling most authors have similar doubts at different times. Yet, the heart of why writers write, is never fame and fortune( plenty of us dream of it even if we won't admit it). It's because we are addicted to the act of creation. We are consumed by the desire to stir the caldron of potions in our head, add the right ingredients at the best times to make it as fine a brew as we can and finally pour what we've concocted out for the sake of watching it flow out onto the page or screen in front of us. This is the act that keeps us going even if what we write never wins a Pulitzer Prize or reaches anyone beyond a few friends.

It is gratifying to be read. I hope people do read this book I've written and are willing to pay for it. Yet the canvas I paint with my words is meant, first and foremost to be something I can look upon and smile at. And if others wish to smile at it with me, dismiss it or walk by without a glance they are welcome to. I'm just glad to be able to say to the world, 'it's here! it's finished!'



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