I am not now, and have never been, a “pre-published” writer. Or rather, I guess I was, in the sense that I had contracted work that had not yet been published, but I never called myself pre-published.
I hate the term, for a number of reasons.
Or maybe just one, now that I think of it. I hate it because of the silly, smiley, happy-dappy implication of it. The implication that of course you’ll be published one day, it just hasn’t happened yet! You’ll be published because you deserve to be, because everybody who writes a book deserves to be, because there’s no such thing as a good or bad book! All books are equally worthy and good!
This attitude is crap.
People who have special skills deserve recognition for them. Are you really going to tell me that To Kill A Mockingbird or The Scarlet Letter or even Bag of Bones deserve to be placed on the same miserable, low level as the badly punctuated, cliched, and dull ramblings of some basement dweller with the intellectual capacity of a goat?
Words mean something. Their meanings are fluid, yes, but coy alterations of them for the sake of false self-esteem should be anathema to the writer. Does calling yourself “pre-published” really make you feel better? Isn’t it like telling yourself a lie? A writer’s job is to seek the truth, not hide behind cutesy phrases designed to justify themselves to the rest of the world.
Real “self-esteem” comes from accomplishing real things. It comes from doing the best we can. Not from pretending we’re all just as good as everyone else (at anything but its most base, equality-under-law level) or lowering standards or making up sweet little adjectives so we can smile and feel all snuggly. You can call yourself “pre-published” until the cows come home, but that doesn’t mean you are actually going to be published. Ever.
And it’s not even creative, for fuck’s sake. Pre-published? Is that like almost-employed? Pre-millionaire? Pre-married? (Actually, you could probably confuse strange men attempting to pick you up with that last one.)
But the worst thing about it is the idea that an unpublished writer has to justify themselves. That they have to slip the word “published” in there to make people respect what you’re doing. Fuck them! Who cares what they think? Why would you be ashamed that you’re still honing your craft? Do gymnasts call themselves “pre-Olympics? Pre-champion?”
Say it loud, I’m unpublished and I’m proud. And there are no guarantees in life.
Couple of things: I suspect the switch to the new blogger template thingie messed up something with my feed. Can anyone confirm or deny?
I have a Yahoo group, and it has an actual member! I finally gave in and started the darned Yahoo group, despite my general aversion to them. I can’t promise I’ll be posting there all the time, but I plan to, and I plan to do a monthly newsletter. So go sign up, if you want.