Think outside the boxed notion of a novel. The publishing industry perpetuates the idea that unless you write a novel, you’re not deemed a writer. It’s like saying unless you write a symphony, then you’re not a music composer. Most publishers deem a 50000 word composition the hallmark of respectability and prerequisite for consideration as a candidate into the fold.
What’s a novel? A long form work of fiction. Start, middle and end, with plots and sub-plots, a build-up of tension, a climax and outcome. What about others? What if you’re a non-fiction curator of thoughts? What if you’re a poet? What of the humorist? Aren’t they too writers? You could of course split hair and say essayist, poet, playwright, script writer, short story writer, journalist, yet they are writers. So here we are back again whereby to bestow only a certain cachet to a novelist is like saying only a symphony composer is a musician or you’re a recording artist only when you release an album. Singles, extended play recordings don’t count.
Funny though, Shakespeare is a playwright who wrote for the stage for the masses to watch, listen and be entertained. He also wrote eloquent poetry when not writing for the stage. So does that make him any less?
If prejudice cannot be weeded from creative classification and accordance of prestige, then the arts isn’t liberal at all.
With the hegemony of agents and acquisition editors acting as the guardians of taste and mass market interest, the easiest part is creating. Creating itself is a challenging phase, as any creator would know. Persuading a skeptical, know-it-all coterie only open to the current trends or celebrity associated titles is the bane of many authors. If there is a shortage of open minds and open hearts in the industry, how then do you expect to accommodate divergent paths? This ails all artistic forms. How do you expect the arts to thrive when you discourage artists from making a living from their passion? I know how it feels to be turned away and turned down or coming close to acceptance but the rest of the committee isn’t convinced because they have an eye on a current trend. It’s like saying “I like your style but you’re not the stuff the market likes so we cannot sign you up” or “You’re too far away from so-and-so’s style and we are looking for that.” How would you know for sure unless effort is made to communicate a certain work by promoting it? I’m sure there are writers who are just as sick of the loop as I am. If I keep at this, it won’t end even after I’m well gone.
That is why the self-publishing market exists and it will continue to grow with accessibility to simple publishing and distribution tools from digital shop fronts. Even this humble medium of a blog allows me to display my works and display them I will. When you have something worthy to share, just share it. The best time is when you’re ready and not when someone else who doesn’t know you at all says you are. Don’t wait a lifetime. Don’t squander your fire while it burns bright.