Tuesday, October 25, 2011

owner of a lonely heart

Everyone who has worked in publishing knows what authors really want. 

To be loved. 

Writing is an incredibly lonely business. You don't need to necessarily be a loner to be a writer, lots of writers I've known have been fantastically social, the very life of the party. But there must be a side of you that loves solitude, the relishes the thought of retreating into your own mind for hours at time, with only your own voice and perhaps those of your characters echoing in your ears. 

Then one day you find you want to share what you have done with the world, to release into the wild what you have been laboring on in secret. You hope people will be moved or inspired, worry they will horrified or scandalized by your words. But God dammit, one way or another you want them to care. 

One thing the old model of publishing was great at (in the best cases) was making a writer feel loved. At least in the beginning when everything was shiny and hopeful. Publishing would bring you in and introduce you to a kindly editor with an office full of beautiful hardcovers, a publisher whose good suit hid his protruding belly, a sleek, hard-eyed, enthusiastic publicity director perhaps. All of these people were going to be there for you in this vulnerable time. But unless your book became enough of a success to keep the party going, the bloom faded fast. And then just like that, the you would themselves back where they started. Alone with your words and your thoughts and God forbid, your awful sales track. 

And if there's anything lonelier than a published author, it's a self-published author. 

Are we all alone out there? 


  1. Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
    And sorry I could not travel both
    And be one traveler, long I stood
    And looked down one as far as I could
    To where it bent in the undergrowth.

    Then took the other, as just as fair,
    And having perhaps the better claim,
    Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
    Though as for that the passing there
    Had worn them really about the same.

    And both that morning equally lay
    In leaves no step had trodden black.
    Oh, I kept the first for another day!
    Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
    I doubted if I should ever come back.

    I shall be telling this with a sigh
    Somewhere ages and ages hence:
    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
    I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference

  2. Thank you for that, whoever you are.

  3. yes, indeed - it's a lonely business. the good news is, you are not alone. i'm reading your blog, and so are others. your book is on my list of books to buy, and i'm sure others as well. the most difficult aspect to pursuing our dreams and following our heart is letting go of the results. to just do what we do because we can't live any other way, and live in that joy and freedom.

    you are loved. trust me.

  4. Thank you Simone. What a lovely comment.