Reflecting on writing and on the difficulties of writing, both my own and others’, I was reminded of this final passage in Fairfax and Moat’s fascinating and idiosyncratic, The Way to Write:
So it is important to be published? You answer. After all, you are the only one who can tell you.
But, if it’s any help, here are two things that publication will never do. First, it will never prove that you are any good as a writer. Second, it will not even prove that you are a writer.
If you look to publication for such proof, then watch out: you’re a very inflammable moth, the one in the legend who is consumed by the flame of his own illusion.
In the first place, no writer ever knows whether he is any damn good. In the second place, there is for the writer only one proof of identity that is meaningful and incontrovertible: the strange evidence that he continues to write.
This is followed by the most succinct Suggestions for Practice that may ever have been given: