Writers Don’t Write to Get Published

Real writers don’t write to get published. They write to write.

I don’t think that I’ll ever approach writing the same way again after reading Madeleine L’Engle’s Walking On Water. She helped me understand that writing (or any creative effort) is an incarnational activity. That is, you embody at least a part of the spirit of God when you write.

So, according to that rationale, to write towards the end of self-glorification (i.e. getting published) is a blasphemous, if not at least a tad selfish.

On a practical level, if you can’t write and experience fulfillment through the sheer act of creating, you better give up. Or, you had better learn how to enjoy the writing process for what it is.

For other books worth reading on the subject of writing and creativity, check out the Resources tab.

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7 Comments on “Writers Don’t Write to Get Published”

  1. S. C. Green says:

    I’m not sure I entirely agree with Madeleine L’Engle’s statement. I believe writers write to communicate. If it’s devotional, you’re attempting to communicate with your creator/spirit/god/universe. It could be you’re trying to communicate with the masses, or just yourself. I find keeping a journal me keep in touch with me. My stories, in turn, are attempts at communicating with others.
    Bear in mind that just because you are attempting to communicate that anyone will or has to listen.
    Thanks for getting me thinking today.
    SC

  2. adam mclane says:

    This is true man. You write out of your personhood. Anything else is fake.

  3. Susan says:

    I JUST finished reading that book less than an hour ago, and I tend to agree. =]

  4. Jeff Goins says:

    Thanks, all. S.C. – I like your distinction between writing and communicating.

  5. Fred Khumalo says:

    Writers don’t write to get published? bull dust! Why did you publish this?

  6. Jeff Goins says:

    Because I had to, Fred.

  7. […] continue on what I posted yesterday, let’s draw an analogy to the writing process. As you well know by now, you don’t write […]


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