{why being published is a lot like turning thirteen}

So yesterday, I'm driving home from my friend's house and I've told myself that I cannot stop anywhere because I don't have any money. Seriously. There is something like $30 in my checking account, and that's for my Lyrica this afternoon if I can get COBRA and some subsidy and whatever. I think I'll put the HR person on speaker phone and let Dad yell at them for me. Because he's a Marine. And thus scary.

Anyway, driving home, and I pass a Starbucks, sigh wistfully, and wonder if I should stop for my beloved green tea latte even though I just bought the powdered mix for it at the Japanese grocery store fifteen minutes prior (side note: I am drinking it now and it's fantastic). And my eye wanders a bit, probably controlled by the Critic's cousin Shopaholic, and I notice a Jo-Ann's. And this isn't your regular Jo-Ann's -- it's a Jo-Ann's Superstore.

This is where my rational brain kicks in and says, "It can't hurt to look. And you need yarn for those things you're crocheting."

"They're flowers."

"Sure. Yeah. Flowers." Except this part of my brain is totally rolling it's eyes at me. Or my eyes at me. It's kinda confusing, since all these aspects in my head are sharing physical space with me.

Ignoring the comment, I walk in. There are books along the entry asile, and then magazines. I scope 'em out. Seeing the pretty blues of Artful Blogging, I pick it up because I like seeing if there are people I know in there (because I like emailing them and saying YAY because we all like celebrations!). But when I open it up, I see this:

sneaking a photo. isn't the lighting here great?

Which is a total surprise, but welcome. So then, I'm standing up there near the registers, trying to take a photo without attracting attention because I've just entered the store, and while this is happy happy, I did want to, you know, shop a bit. With my eyes. Or maybe my walet...I can't be sure.

After taking my photos, I wandered. And while I wandered, I couldn't help but have a smile on my face; here I am, an anonymous shopper like everyone else, except I can walk up to a magazine on the shelf and point out my work. Yes, it is a wonderful feeling. But as I grabbed stuff I really didn't need, I realized that I didn't really feel any different. It's like turning thirteen or twenty -- yes, you feel like you should feel different, but nothing's really changed, has it? You didn't just become eligible to drive, or drink, and the world's still spinning the same way as the day before.

Just because my artwork's now in magazines doesn't mean I am a different person. I chat with more people and have replies on Twitter and love connecting with people, but no, I don't feel any different.

That's the moral of the story, folks. I remember reading a chapter in Anne Lamont's Bird by Bird about how you shouldn't focus on being published because it's not going to change you. Or, rather, you'll just become blocked creatively because you feel you have to live up to what you've already put out there. It doesn't make anything easier or more fun. So don't worry about if people are commenting on your Flickr photos or your blog, don't worry about making things just to be published. Just go with the flow. It will happen when it's mean to happen.

Wow. This post turned out more uplifting than I thought!

Until tomorrow, my dears.


EDIT: Jami brings up an excellent point. I feel somewhat different in that being published does change you. It changes you in the sense that your work is out there to inspire others!!!! It is out there for ALL to see, admire and recognize that their ideas and creations have merit as well.

I love that I can inspire more people because of publication. I love that I get more questions and readers and such. I ADORE helping. That is the reason I blog. And I love it. And yes, I get giddy when I think about it.

That being said, I think everyone's stuff should have merit whether something like it is published or not. Then again, reading this comment, all I could think was, "What if this page isn't as good? Will people still like it? What if it inspires people to NOT do something?" It's a lot of pressure, sometimes, knowing people know your work. And I speak from my fangirl I've-written-popular-fanfic self, where something may be amazing and well-recieved and inspire others, but that doesn't help me when I sit down to start something new. Which may also be why I haven't written in awhile. That, and I am horrible at finishing things. I swear, I have unfinished stories. And journal pages. And lists. Sentences and