Saturday, March 2, 2024

For the Love of Writing

Occasionally I'll talk to doctoral students who are hankering to get their dissertations published. They ask me for advice and I am glad to give it. There is nothing quite like the triumph of eventually getting your name on the cover of a book. But I've also met Ph.D. students who aren't that interested in writing. They sort of want to write, but what they really want is to be published. Publishing has its place, but I hope I never come to the point where I put that before my passion for writing itself. The act of writing alone has its rewards. 

As you know, I lift. A lot. Today was no exception. 

I love this sport and, to me, my love of the sport is very important. I may have gotten into weight training because I wanted to climb another peak in the Alps, but I continue to engage in it because (1) I enjoy doing it and (2) I'm fairly good at it. The same is true with writing. It gives you a joy that not even publishing can give you. The ordinary ritual of jotting things down (like a daily blog post) is a remarkable source of joy and peace. In fact, I'd blog whether or not anybody ever read anything I wrote. 

Publishing can be a trap. When all I do is chase an arbitrary number ("How many books have you published?"), I'm simply engaging in a numbers game. Now, I'm not saying that publishing is a bad thing. You can certainly aspire to having your name in print. But what a shame it would be to miss out on the joy of writing because you're too focused on a publisher's contract.  

Make it a great weekend!