Wednesday, May 11, 2011

To submit or not to submit: that is the question.

Is it worth submitting to publishers and agents? That question came up again this week. Probably it is and at various times over the past 20 years that I have been writing creatively I have done so. I even had a little flutter earlier this year which led nowhere.

There is no doubt that my ability to submit  has been limited somewhat by the fact that much of my time has been spent living in the Third World - India, Angola, Zambia - where, in the days of snail mail, which many agents and publishers still require, was just too hard if not impossible. One does not post anything in Africa so I had to wait until I was in Australia to do it.

And I suspect I lack motivation. I did get through the visceral response of disappointment and at times anger at yet another rejection to a point where I was hardly disappointed and no longer really cared. I do believe that if we are meant to be or do something it will happen... fate, angels, fortune etc., and I also believe that if we pursue something and it does not happen then while it may not be what we want, it is what we need. I will say writing is particularly hard because until the net, unlike painting, pottery and other creative crafts, there is nothing one can do with it.

An artist once suggested I print out my novels and turn them into wallpaper... she had no idea what it was about. I wonder if she even noticed the look of horror on my face. Before the days of blogs and internet I likened being an unpublished writer to being a cook or chef who spent days, weeks, preparing a meal and served it only to have it all left on the plate, barely nibbled, with no-one telling you why they did not like it, want it, or thought it worth consuming?

It was the major reason I took up painting although there is no doubt that writing is my first love. The painting at least can be seen by Self or others and appreciated, or not, easily. The unpublished manuscript, until today, languished in dark drawers and darker memory.

Apart from which, being rejected gave me time to think about what it all meant and to work with Ego to a place where I would appreciate being appreciated as a writer but I no longer need it.

So, in this place of no longer really caring and believing if my work is meant to be read more widely it will happen I can't be bothered chasing publishers and agents who, all too often, are part of a system which limits their ability to not only recognise worthwhile writing but to do anything about it.

Publishing is now about sales, not about writing nor content. If your work looks saleable you will be picked up by someone... mine I suspect is too dense, complex and mythic to appeal to most modern tastes. And even if it did that would neither make it good or bad - it just is. Ego aside, it is the act which matters and the words brought forth in form and shape to offer images to those who care to see.


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