Celebrating Versus Publishing

I’ve been percolating some ideas for the Celebrating Writers book Christi Overman and I are working on and expect to have out later this year with Stenhouse. We pretty much had it drafted, but then, looking back after letting it settle realized (due to the insight of our editor) that it just wasn’t quite right. So we’ve been slung back into the beginning stages of planning and drafting and talking and drafting and envisioning. (And, oh yeah, the due date is in two months.)

I use the word percolating with a little bit of a smirk. Perhaps procrastinating could be substituted. At least that’s what it might look like to an outsider (or even a co-writer…eh, Christi?).  To read more about my reflection of this writing process, check out my post, “What happened to my nice-neat writing process?” on Ruth Ayres Writes.

What I’m coming to realize is there is a significant difference in my mind between celebration and publication. As I read some of the research this weekend (an assignment from my editor), I noticed there’s not been much emphasis on celebration. Publication is discussed, as this is the final stage of the writing process. Sharing is discussed. Publishing parties are mentioned.

A formal celebration of writers — not so much. So I want to flesh out the differences between celebrating and publishing. This is one of the purposes of Two Writing Teachers — to have a place to shape my thinking and  catch how it is changing and growing.

So a little list about PUBLISHING…

  1. Publishing is focused on putting the writing into the world.
  2. Publishing is centered on making writing public.
  3. Publishing is totally product oriented. The emphasis is on the writing, not the writer.
  4. Publishing is often looked at as the end of a piece of writing. Sometimes there is a sense of “arriving” at a destination once the writing is published. The journey is over — often never thought about again. This kind of sends a shiver up my spine.
  5. Publishing is sometimes about perfection. The focus can be about neatness and conventions and doing it “right.”

By contrast, I see CELEBRATING as…

  1. Focused on writers and how they are changing, growing, and developing. It is about the writer, not the writing.
  2. Celebrating is about reflective practice, helping writers discover their strengths and set goals for their writing lives.
  3. Celebrating is about connections to other writers. It has a purpose of developing a community of writers.
  4. Celebrating fuels a writer’s journey. Celebrating provides support and encouragement. It helps us realize the hard work of living a writing life is worthwhile and important. Celebrating gives us something to work toward or on for the next leg of our journey.
  5. Celebrating helps us discover pieces of our writing selves. We learn about our strengths and how to build on them to truly master craft and conventions. Celebrating gives us a chance to take risks to find out what works (and what doesn’t) as writers.

How about you? What do you think of when you hear WRITING CELEBRATION? What do you imagine when you consider PUBLISHING. Your comments are appreciated. 🙂