Monday, March 14, 2016

Writer: Stamped on Your Heart, Poured in Your Blood

Just this past week or so a realization hit me. Something I really wish I had learned a long, long time ago, but something I think all writers struggle with.

I believe we writers far too often measure our self worth by that title of “published” or “not published”. I certainly have. I tend to think if I ever get published I’ll have “made it”, but while I’m unpublished I’m a nobody. Just a person holed up in her room thinking up silly stories. “I am nothing until I’m published,” I tell myself. Over and over again.

But you know what? I’ve been lying to myself. Almost every single day, I’ve fed myself these lies.

Being published is a wonderful thing, and something we should put effort into if that’s our goal. But not because we believe it’s the only way to “be somebody”.  Publishing is not the end of it all. It's not the line of being a “worthy” writer or not. It's just yet another part of the writing life should we choose to pursue it.

But the writing life, the real purpose of it, is to WRITE. To love stories and our characters and our worlds and just write about them because we love it. Because we want to. Because it makes us happy. If we want to get published, then sure, strive for that. But we should never, ever let it get in the way for our love of writing. Or let it measure our worth.

It occurred to me the other day, the people I most want to read and enjoy my stories already are and already can. I'd LOVE to get published, of course. But what I really want is to share my stories with loved ones. And I'm already accomplishing that.

There are so, so many more aspects to the writing life besides having your book in print by that big publishing company. For example, blogging. That’s one of my favorite aspects to writing. In a sense, it’s like being published. It’s public, anyone can read it. I get to share my writing with so many wonderful people, and in turn get to read their delightful posts. It’s like I get to “publish” something every single week (but without the hassle of all those edits and marketing, heh).

But the point is, blogging is just another aspect of writing. It’s not for everyone. Just like publishing may not be for everyone. And that’s okay!

Publishing is one of the aspects of writing. It’s not “the one”. It’s just one of the ones.

Publishing does not have to be the end goal. I mean, even published authors still haven't “made it”. There is no making it. It's always a learning experience. But mostly, it's something fun and magical. Writing is unlike any other thing on this planet. What other job lets you sit around daydreaming about kingdoms being built and torn down? About dragons soaring through the air? About daring escapades and true heroes?

No matter who you are, no matter where you are in your writing, whether you’ve published 50 books or are just starting that first ever first draft, you should be writing for the sheer enjoyment of it. Not because someone told you to or because you want to be published to feel worthy. Don’t force yourself to write about a wizard boarding school or a high action dystopian even though you hate those genres because you want to be the next J.K. Rowling or Suzanne Collins.

Write the stories in your heart. Write the things you love. Write because creating stories puts a thrill through you heart and joy in your soul.

Write because you love it.

With that said, if it is your dream to be published, then pursue it with every fiber of your being. Don’t ever let harsh critiques or that 20th rejection letter stop you. Never let loose that dream.

But don’t ever forget WHY you want that dream. Yes, it's a wonderful feeling when people love your writing, but you should be the first to love it.

Writing is in our very being. Ink is in our blood. We don’t write for fame or fortune. We write because without words we’d cease to exist. We’d be empty shells lost in this chaotic world. Don’t ever let rejection or discouragement or rules or expectations clog your joy for creating stories. Write because it’s your passion.

And I believe that’s the end all goal. Not to land an enormous contract with that big dream publishing house. But to simply create stories because it’s our passion. Don't let this noisy, ever changing world dry up those creative juices, block you from your love of stories. Just write.

You are a writer. Publishing does not give you that title. The yearning you have in your heart to create beautiful words stamps “Writer” on your being. And you are completely worthy of that title.

So go out and paint those stories in your head with a swirl of words. Release your creativity from your mind to your fingers. Pursue your dreams. Pursue the aspects of writing you love. Because you want to. Because you need to. Because you have to in order to breathe. Not because it measures your worth.

Because you love it.


  1. CAN I GET AN AMEN?! Just...just...EVERYTHING YOU SAID. It's golden.

    I have to admit, sometimes I worry about these things. I love to write, but I feel like if I don't ever get published that people will consider my dream a failure. Writing is my passion. I love words so much that I can't imagine forcing myself to do anything else. A lot of people, though they may understand my love of writing, don't necessarily think I should pursue it as my career. Maybe they're right.

    But maybe they're wrong.

    Maybe I should just do what I love because I LOVE it. Because that's the thing that God has placed on my heart. Maybe, instead of worrying what the people around me think, I should just follow my dream. Chase after it and don't let it fly away.

    Thanks you so, SO much for this post, Christine! I really needed to hear this. What lies in my future is very hazy right now, but as long as I do what God calls me to do, I know everything will turn out right.

    1. Oh, I also wanted to wish you a happy blogoversary! (Yup, totally just made up a word. It's one of the perks of being a writer. XD) I can't believe Musings of an Elf is 5 years old today! *dances around and throws confetti and eats cake* HAPPY BIRTHDAYYYYY.

    2. Wait, wait, wait, Musing Of An Elf is 5 YEARS OLD today?!?! HOW did I not know this?! Happy happy happy birthday to your BEAUTIMOUS blog, Christine!!! Wow, I didn't realize just how long you had been blogging here. I'm SO glad you decided to started Musing Of An Elf, I love it over here :D.

    3. Yes to everything you said, Mary! I feel that way all the time. I feel like if I never get published people are going to see my life as a waste. But *I* really don't feel like I'm wasting my time when I write. It's fulfilling and satisfying. It makes me happy and helps me understand people and life at a deeper level. That doesn't sound like a waste to me.

      So yes, follow that dream! Never let what others say allow it to slip from your fingers. Keep following God and the passion He put in your heart. <3

      Oh my goodness gracious, I FORGOT ABOUT MY OWN BLOGOVERSARY!!! I can't believe I totally forgot. THANK YOU BOTH!!!! *huggles* And thank you guys for reading and commenting. You make this whole blogging thing so much fun. Love you guys! <333


    5. It was MoaE's blogiversary?!?! HAPPY BLOGIVERSARY!! Your blog is "such the beauty" :)

    6. THANK YOU DEAR, OLIVIA. Oh my! That is one of the nicest things anyone has ever said about my little blog. Your comments this morning have completely made my day! <3

  2. Ack! LAURI I LOVE YOU. <333333333333333333333333

    This post.
    i cannot

    thank you so much for this reminder you lovely being <3

    the way you wrote this proves that YOU are a writer and your way with words and how you understand it so deeply and.. lkasjdlfkj yes

    "We write because without words we’d cease to exist. We’d be empty shells lost in this chaotic world." THAT THERE

    this whole thing resonated with me so much i can't even
    just thank you

    the doubts do creep in, all the time, but just to revel in it and exist in it and love it... this is a beautiful timely reminder

    don't ever stop being you and writing and pouring out the thoughts of your heart on this perfect blog of yours because you have a beautiful talent and an ability to encourage that is just amazing

    thank you for all the things <3333333333333333333333333333

    1. And I cannot with this comment! I'm so, so, so happy you enjoyed it. Though I feel like you had to read most of this twice since I said a lot of this in an email to you. (I told you I'd turn it into a blog post. Hehe.) But THANK YOU!

      I...I don't even know what to say. YOU have a way with words and use it so much to encourage and bring smiles. Keep doing what you do! <3

    2. That only makes it all the better because it was largely for me and now EVERYONE gets to read it too. :) (And my goodness, I read it twice? ONLY twice? Girl, I have read it several times now, both the email and blog post version. XD) *huggles* <333333

    3. You've read it multiple times? I...I can't. You are the sweetest! <3

  3. THIS IS SO FREAKING ENCOURAGING THANK YOU. I've been having a lot of thoughts like this lately - "Do I write this novel for me, or for the potential publishers?" Because that will greatly effect how it is written and maybe the chances of it getting published. But I've decided to just write the story how it presents itself to me, how the characters are telling me it should be, and we'll cross the publishing bridge if and when we come to it.

    Ellie | On the Other Side of Reality

    1. You are so welcome!!

      Yes, I know exactly what you're going through. I have wasted so much time and mental energy worrying that I'm not writing what the publishing industry wants. But I can't spend my life writing things I don't want to, trying to bend it around so certain people will like it. I have to write what I love first. I'm so glad you're writing for you. I believe the best stories come from that. If the writer has a passion for it, then I think it'll be beautiful.

  4. Wow. This is so beautiful and inspiring! Last year was a time I really had to start remembering this. It's so easy to get caught up in expectations of what it means to be a "real writer" instead of remembering that it's all about writing and loving to write.

    And again: This was so inspiring!

    1. Thank you, girl! So glad you found some encouragement in it.

      It is so easy to fall into that. To follow the "trend" and forget about writing what YOU love. But I believe if every writer created stories from things that are close and meaningful to them, we'd have many, many beautiful books out there. So you just keep writing and loving it!

  5. That's awesome! Thanks for posting this! I feel like writing now! :)

    1. Awww, I'm so happy to hear that! Yes, go write. Create beautiful things. The world needs it! ^_^

  6. Oooh, Christine, thank you for this! I've felt so many times that getting published is the most important thing, and that if I don't get published I won't be fully satisfied with my work. But you're so right, getting published is not the point, the writing in and of itself is the point :). We be writers through and through, nothing can change that. Thank you again for this beautiful reminder, Christine!
    By the way, how is editing going with Burning Thorns?

    1. Yes! That's exactly how I've felt for the majority of my life. I think it's so easy to fall into that. But what's important is that we WRITE and that we never lose our love for it.

      Editing is going great! I'm shockingly loving. o.o I had no idea I could actually LOVE editing, but I do. It's going reeeally slow and this week is so busy it may unfortunately be a while before I can get the next chapter out to my beta-readers. But when I DO find time, I love it!

    2. I'm glad editing is going so well! The chapters you've put up so far are absolute AWESOMENESS. But life does take up time, doesn't it? I'll be looking forward to that next chapter :).
      Yeah, I think editing would be fun, but the only time I actually edited with a purpose (editing my FMS entry) I had, like ... a week or two to get it all done. THAT was not fun XD.

    3. D'awww! I'm so happy you're enjoying them.

      A week to edit? o.o Oh man, I think I'd die. I like taking it slow and steady. I admire you for doing that!

  7. Oh, girl, this is beautiful. *hugs* Thank you for such a good reminder! It's easy to get caught up in the pursuit of publishing, to think that is the end goal. And it's not. It's still something I want to do, but if that is my sole purpose for writing, I will find little joy in it.

    It's the actual WRITING that makes us writers, not whether our names are printed on a book spine. It's the stringing together of words on a page, the stitching of scenes to make a story. It's distilling life into a hundred thousand words, and waking the characters that live in our minds, and taking our own hearts on a written journey to discover something new.

    I love how you said that it's great when other people like our writing, but we should be the first to love it. Stories that I'm not passionate about never come out right anyway. :P

    Ink certainly is in our blood. Let's keep bleeding onto the page, my dear. <333

    1. D'awww, thank you! Exactly. I'll never stop pursuing it, but I don't want it to become my core reason for creating stories. I want to be published because I like to make stories, not make stories because I want to be published. If that makes sense.

      Oh, your beautiful words. <3 Yes, that's it precisely. We write because our heads are exploding with ideas and we have to let them out, because we're adventurers at heart. And because it's just plain FUN.

      Yes, yes, yes! I firmly believe it's sooo important the author write a story they love. If we force ourselves to write something we're not into, that force is going to show. You can always tell if a book feels forced or if the author loved it. It shows, no matter how hard we try to disguise it. So we shouldn't follow the trends. We should just write what we love, because that's how the best books are made.

      Absolutely! ^_^

  8. Replies
    1. I'm really glad you enjoyed it. You're so welcome. ^_^

  9. Thanks, Christine. I really need this right now. I love writing and I've been pursuing publication for years and I still haven't gotten my novel yet and it's a bit discouraging. I could really use the extra dough from an advance. But my fears have definitely been hurting my creativity.

    1. I'm so glad it could be some encouragement to you. Don't you ever give up! I can see your dedication to your writing, it's beautiful. God put that passion inside you and He has a plan for it. So keep writing, keep pursuing that dream. And don't ever let those doubts pull you from your love for words.


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