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Eye on the prize

Save your precious time and attention for what really matters: Your writing.

An illustrated brain with eyeglasses floats blissfully in a state of meditation
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As a writer, I find that focusing on publishing, rather than on the writing process, is a big mistake. I know, that’s easy for me to say now that I’ve published a couple of books and my work has appeared in some cool places, but I swear to you, I have felt this way for a long time. The irony is that, if you focus more on the writing, you’re more likely to get published anyway. 

I well remember years ago when I got the news that the Science section of the New York Times was going to publish an essay of mine. I had my annual physical that day, and for the first time in my life, my blood pressure was high. That’s how excited I was. There were months of build-up before publication. All the while, I nervously awaited the moment when my life would change, when I would feel legitimized and could enter the world of the established writer. The day the piece came out, I was up at 5 a.m. checking the internet to see if it was online. It was! People had shared it, blogged about it already. I got emails and letters that I answered. I went to the deli to get a print copy, and when I got home, I cut out the article and had it laminated.  

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