I have always written. It’s true that I love it: the way my mind slows down to walk apace with the rhythm of the pen, the way creations, sometimes, unfold in front of me. I love the incubation of an idea, the birthing onto a page, the process of crafting. These are all reasons why I write.
The question for me is not ‘Why write?’, because the answer to that is obvious (I love it). My question is, ‘Why publish’? – and it’s this question that I find more difficult to answer.
The truth is that a large part of why I have sought publication over the years is as a source of affirmation. There is something deeply affirming about writing words that others want to read. There is something so satisfying about witnessing Likes on Facebook or reading comments that readers care to write. It feels like an indication of my value, my worthwhileness, my goodness perhaps. My publishing, to a large degree, serves my very human need of acceptance, belonging and esteem.
This, by the way, is why it is hard for me to write controversial things. My quest for truth butts up, time and time again, with my ache for acceptance. It’s not easy to stick my neck out.
And yet, when I search, I can find another reason as to why I publish. This other motivation comes from the part of me that already knows my essential goodness, and is free to speak and to write my truth from that sturdy piece of ground. I write not in order to belong, but from a place where I know that I already do (in one broader sense or another) – and as such, I publish my words as a kind of gift. I publish in the belief that my words, when faithfully and truthfully written, will play some role in the healing of our word. Small or large, no one can say, and I can’t guess the impact of anything I create. My words, once thrown out there into the world, will go on some kind of journey, and in a sense I’m just a humble craftswoman, creating because I am made that way, while the Great Mystery takes care of the rest.
In each instance, I write something that is only a slither of what is a much larger truth. This is part of the humility of publishing: the knowledge that my words represent only the most partial of understandings, the best of what I have and know right now, and that sometimes I’m wrong. I will faithfully create and send my creations into the world, regardless.
The movement for me is from the place where I crave to be accepted, to the place where I already know I am. On that new piece of ground, I publish not to be affirmed, but as a humble gift to the world. Fragile, misshapen and with occasional cracks: this is what I have. If my writing can, occasionally, let in some light, then I hope this will be good enough for me.