The Un-published Author’s Lament

So today on Facebook*, I threw a hint of a temper trantrum. I posted the following:

“You know what I want? I want a panel discussion of unpublished authors. We can all discuss our fears, our rejections, our hopes….

Man, I suck.”

I was thankful for the words of encouragement I received from my fellow writers, from the predicatable “bullshit” — which was my personal favorite response, by the way — to the unexpectedly inventive idea of calling ourselves “pre-published” instead of “unpublished” authors.

It’s nice to know that I’m not alone.

Not that I didn’t already know that, or course, but it’s nice to realize it again, from time to time.

Every author, unpublished, published, first-timer, twentieth-timer—all of us get that same pang in our guts** as we pound away at the keyboard, desperate to bring the genius that is our creativity out and present it to the rest of the world, who will–being incredibly perceptive–scream: “It’s beautiful!”

Oh, yes. Inhale deeply through the nose and smell the brilliance that is my writing. Like a bed of roses in the desert of your mind, my words will bring beauty and joy to whoever reads them.

Don’t we all feel that way about our writing?

Rather, don’t we all want to feel that way about our writing?

But it’s hard. All that brilliance, locked up in so fragile a thing as the human mind, conjured up by the even more fragile thing that is the human soul, forced to use such crude mechanisms as mere words to present so profound and revelatory ideas to the masses, who can’t even begin to comprehend that they don’t even know the depths of their ignorance.

Woe to the author. Any author. Published, unpublished, aspiring, toiling, failed, successful, hack, ghost–all of us. Woe to us who attempt such a feat, knowing that at every turn the source of that same genius that drives us will bedevil us.

But we do. Not because we chose to, but because we were chosen to.

So, I had to go back and amend my original post, including the following:

“Hold on, everybody. I’m not hanging up the keyboard just yet. Yes, my OP may have been a bit melodramatic, but I’ve just been in a big funk lately, […] and needed to blow off a little steam. I am well aware of the difficulties in the publishing process, and have learned a TON about my own writing while editing other writers […] I can twist a phrase to my will whenever I damned well please, and I don’t intend to not get that out into the big, wide, world. […] My ability to manipulate the written word is not an issue; this post was simply a bit of a primal scream, if you will, of the frustrated artist flailing at the universe. Poor universe, thinking it can stifle me, a mere human, with its vastness and eternal power and….oooohhhhh. Dude, I should have picked a better analogy .”

God. Damned. Universe.

That analogy is why writers have editors.


*My thanks to the folks on Facebook that replied to my original post.

**There is one author that I know doesn’t get these pangs, because I believe that he is a shameless huckster, but I won’t mention his name.


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