Not Everything Needs to Be Published.

Posted on Posted in Current Happenings., Storytelling.

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I’ve felt a little sorry for myself as a writer lately.

I have grand ideas and vision, but I’m, essentially, in full-on mommy-mode; when writing does and should come second.

This difficult balancing act of mother and passionate writer has had me questioning the real reasons for why I write.

I write because I can’t not write. I love blogging—truly I do. I love connecting with other writers, and with readers, and I feel purposeful when I receive feedback that my words gave life to someone else’s feelings—someone I’ve never met in real life—or that my words gave another new mom motivation to practice yoga that day, for example.

But we don’t write for recognition or popularity or to have made it on the cover of a particular website—although sometimes it feels like this is what a real writer does; who a real writer is.

No, we write because we have no choice.

I was talking with my husband a few weeks ago about how the internet, Instagram, blogging, etc seems to be changing the intention for many writers.

Some writers forget that true art exists because the artist had no choice but to create it—many of our most famous works achieved their highest success after the artist was long gone from this world.

Because truly great art is not made for the world. It’s made because one human heart nurtured an idea, and let it grow and grow, until it finally had no choice but to be birthed.

Actually, this is another reason why many blogs would be better if the writer had privately journaled the idea for personal contemplation before bringing it out in published form.

I know many writers, myself included, who still use pens and paper to write with. This is a great way to really grab a thought before it’s put up live online, and, really, before anything is out there and into the world forever, it’s best for the author to deeply contemplate why this should be published in the first place.

Not everything needs to be published.

That overly personal article about sex? It might have been better off quietly shared and sent as a love letter to that one special muse.

That article discussing how poor of a parent someone’s ex-spouse is? Yeah, that’s not exactly great for the kids to have this information available for anyone and their own mother to read.

So why do we write and then share with the world at large? Or, rather, why should we?

We write because we must. We write because we have no choice. We write compulsively—on the side of the road when a blazing idea strikes or in the middle of the night when we awake with a wonderful thought. However, we publish because an idea would benefit the world at large, whether in simple art form because of poetic beauty, or because it’s full of helpful life experiences that could do wonders if sent out as little love notes all over the world.

But the world these days seems to cry out for drama and fighting and contrast.

How much of what is published and then actually does well, does so because of an incredibly brutal title or almost offensive accompanying photograph? A whole hell of a lot of it, that’s what.

And, yes, we can say that people are clicking on this shit and so it’s our own faults; fair, fair—to a point.

Because, as true writers, we need to access our own intentions. In other words, we need to claim responsibility and seek out publications that are looking for real art and words of real benefit and not click-bait crap. While this is not to say that click-bait crap will go away, we, as deliberate writers, are the ones with the words.

There is power in words.

Words can hurt—words can also heal.

Words can shape young minds, words can instigate positive life changes, and words can make our hearts beat faster from their sheer ferocity.

In short, a real writer is not someone who has so many followers on Twitter or who has so many articles published in various online magazines. No, a real writer is someone who leaks their soul out through fingertips and onto pages—and a great writer, I would argue at least, is someone who knows when to click “publish” and when to close the book and put the pen down, until the next time the right words call.

 

Photo: Flickr/content writer.

7 thoughts on “Not Everything Needs to Be Published.

  1. I just like you more and more. I shared this with my writer’s group because likes, clicks, shares- they’re addictive, especially for new writers that are finding their words touch people. But I truly believe that when we start to serve the Click God, our writing soul suffers. Click bait-y titles, over sexualized content, stuff that is obviously out there just for traffic- it’s info-tainment. Publish to serve; not serve to publish.

  2. Thank you for this beautiful article, Jennifer. I love this. It comes at a time I’m contemplating giving up writing altogether for the lack of readers. If nothing else, its humbled me from imagining I’m some sort of great scribe pumping out gems, to the reality that I’m not half as good as I thought I was in my own mind. If not for the great big silence in response to my articles, i wouldn’t know that. What you say about the culture of “clicks & likes” is true, but there is some validity to those forms of acknowledgement. As you point out, personal writings are not meant to be published. Journal entries should be private. Your words have great power, and is the reason I publish: “we publish because an idea would benefit the world at large, whether in simple art form because of poetic beauty, or because it’s full of helpful life experiences that could do wonders if sent out as little love notes all over the world.” Indeed, it is a gift to the world. And when the world demonstrates that its not moved by that, as much as it hurts, it may be a fair indicator that a writer should consider a different form of delivering the gift. The idea is to touch the world. I have seen how the drive for clicks has distorted my titles and even some of my content. I see who’s getting the clicks, and most often its not the best word-smiths or story tellers. That is a sad fact of the way social media has morphed our craft. It doesn’t mean anyone needs to stop writing. As you say, we write because we “must”. But it might very well mean its time to stop publishing.

    1. I’m so behind in my responses, so my apologies.

      Don’t give up! Just take some “me” time, Greg. I’ve been writing much less prolifically lately, in the publishing sense, but the material is just voluminous because of taking some time to breathe in life. Keep me posted on your journey. Warmly, Jennifer

  3. Amazing to read this! Only recently I’d noticed what a fool I’ve been, forwarding rubbish material to other friends to read. Bunch of mambo jambo forwarded to myself by some well meaning friends, beause those particular pieces had some fancy pretty words in them!?! So dear Jennifer not only some pieces should never be published their unfortunate readers also should not forward them and let them stay buried!

    1. I recently wrote another post on this topic. I think it should really be out there, directly being discussed by both writers and readers. Thanks for chiming in.

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