I bet this post would be immensely popular had one or two of my books been published by a major publisher—but I’m not there (yet). Or had I published one or two of my books myself, which ideally had been well-received—like Cristian Mihai, whose book “Jazz” I recommend. But I’m not there (yet) either.
So let’s assume that this will definitely happen in the future and that right now, I’m “writing ahead” as an investment.
I’m well aware of the optimism bias—something I picked up from Tali Sharot’s brilliant TED talk—and that it may never happen. But I also picked up something else: Being optimistic makes you try harder and become happier.
So here I am, writing this post while taking a break from the arduous task of writing short stories and a book review—which will prove to be satisfying in the end, as always.
So here I am, writing and trying to get published. Sort of. I admit that it would be fantastic to get published and get my books read by thousands. But it’s not my main goal.
Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.
But instead I should have said, simply, that writing makes me happy. As Carol Saller said in an interview with Advice to Writers:
Writers will never be happy until they realize that getting published is not a worthy goal. Writing is the best part of being a writer. Getting published gives you moments of happiness, but it’s nothing compared to the extended happiness of writing itself.
Now that we have touched on happiness, in his excellent book “On Writing” Stephen King reminds us what writing is all about:
Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It’s about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy.
I don’t know if I will ever get published or if I enrich the lives of those who read my work. All I know is that, when I was still in elementary school, my classmates liked the detective stories I wrote. Some people like the stories I write now. I almost never like my writings, but I do know that I enjoy the process of pondering over every word. I know that being a writer gives me infinitely more happiness than being a corporate slave society expects me to be.
I also know that, published or not, I will write till the end.
What about you?
1 An Indonesian online platform which publishes short stories written by aspiring Indonesian writers.