Pastor Joel Osteen says in one of his television sermons, “All is well.” I’m not religious, but I think his wise words can be applied to writing.
That essay you wrote and completed, but haven’t found an outlet has a purpose. It works the same way for the poem you wrote as an angst teen. And although an agent hasn’t yet shown interest in your work, it doesn’t mean you should toss your manuscript yet.
One thing I wish for other writers (and myself) is that they would enjoy the process of writing itself. These days we put too much value on publishing. While it’s a necessary component to a writing life especially if one is making a living from it, it’s only one important aspect.
There are purpose and meaning in seeing your words across the page. It can give you insight to a past experience you’re still grappling with. It can teach you the importance of persistence. If anything, it will humble you. When you look back on your work, do you think about your failed submissions or do you reflect upon how far you’ve come as a writer and as a person?
If we were to cover our judging eyes for a moment and read our prose as a way to learn from instead of criticize it, we might understand its importance in our writing lives.
Not all works-in-progress should be published. Not all writing is meant for readers. Sometimes a writer must write the way a dog shakes off water. It’s automatic. It feels good. It’s necessary.
Sometimes that old prose you wrote years ago might return renewed. Or maybe that essay you wrote needed time to bake in your mind before it was ready. But many times writers need to and should write for the sheer pleasure of it. As Osteen says, “All is well” regardless.