Lisa King: Writing is a Journey, Not a Destination
Updated: Jun 6
Back at the beginning of 2020, I was incredibly stoked (and also pee-pee pants nervous) to be releasing my first novel. This book was a big deal for me. It took years to write, edit, re-write, pitch, edit, re-write, pitch, modify, re-write, and edit (did I mention there was editing and rewriting?), and behold, it was finally going to be published. A real book, sold in real stores, by a real author!
And then the pandemic struck, and the release of my debut novel was understandably delayed; and all of my promotion events were understandably canceled; and oh yeah, did I mention my debut was an apocalyptic fiction about a viral pandemic? So maybe, in a terribly twisted way, the whole world became my promotion event—or anti-promotion event, since the public’s appetite for germy stuff quickly … dwindled.
Suffice to say, book launch numero uno was not what I envisioned, but it changed my mindset about writing entirely (and about life, too). For years, I’d been crawling toward the accolade of bookship (like being knighted, except for books; also, not a real word), only to experience a total womp-womp moment. And then life resumed.
My newest novel, Blue Haven, is a science-fiction thriller about paradise gone wrong,
with a strong thematic warning about the danger of destinations. As authors, a published novel is our destination, but it’s not why we write. We write because we like writing, we feel compelled
to, and we have stories to tell. And that telling part, the journey, shouldn’t be diminished by the
pot of golden bookhood waiting at the end of a very long and grueling rainbow.
The point here—especially for new and aspiring authors—is to enjoy the ride, because writing is the hearty casserole of satisfaction for your imaginative and creative soul, and if you’re not careful, it can start to feel like a never-ending car ride with your hypothetical kids crumblin’ Nature Valleys all over the leather, screaming, “Are we there yet?!”
Let the process of writing and storytelling mean something to you, unto itself. Reflect on the small successes. You finished a chapter? High-five! You curtailed a life lesson into a metaphor about shooting stars? Way to go, you brilliant wordsmith, you! Learn something (or many things) about yourself. Let the exercise of writing frustrate, teach, and inspire you. Find purpose in it.
I’m not saying forget about the book, just don’t let your dreams and aspirations sully the journey, because once you do reach where you’re headed—and if no one’s told you lately: you can, and you will—you’ll step out of the car just like everybody else, vacuum up those crumbs (lil’ hooligans), and check out the view. This will be a nice moment—until a thought joins you, like it always will.
About the Author...
Lisa King is a Canadian fiction author and researcher whose work on veteran mental health has been published in numerous academic journals. She holds degrees in psychology and neuroscience, both from Western University. Aside from writing, she enjoys family outings, ample coffee, and unapologetic napping. She lives in London, Ontario with her husband, daughter, and wonky-eyed cat.