Stop obsessing about publication, start obsessing about writing
Getting published is the Holy Grail for most writers – it is the end to which we all aspire – but why? Will that mean we are better writers? Will we be happier? Will we be able to give up our day jobs and move out to the Tuscan villa?
No, no, and no.
Publication will give a certain amount of validation to your work – there's no question that strangers at parties, family members and let's face it, those we share our beds with, will take our writing much more seriously if we get published. So we may win a few cigars off friends, but that's about the most we can expect.
If we look hard enough we'll see that publication is no sure-fire guarantee of success, or that we'll get another book published, or even that our first will stay published - it's also no guarantee of happiness and it's certainly not the end of anything – just the beginning of something else.
So what's a poor unpublished writer to do?
Learn to love the journey, the act of writing itself, irrespective of what will come of it. Make our goal not getting published, but to write the best damn novel/story/play/poem we possibly can, and forget everything else.
Because the truth is, the most likely reason we're not published is not that we haven't got an agent, or our query letter isn't intriguing enough, or we don't have enough twitter followers, or that most people just watch TV these days, or that nobody has bothered to notice – it's because we're simply not good enough.
You see, you can't change those other things – but your writing? You can make that anything you want.
So let's start by making it brilliant.