11/18/2014 06:17 pm ET Updated Jan 18, 2015

Writing for Self vs Others

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Some of you may know of NaNoWriMo -- also known as National Novel Writing Month. The idea is to give that novel you've always thought about a kick in the pants and a kick out of your mind. So I put a fair amount of time and energy into working on this year's Nano. Considerably more than I've put into it over the past three years. I ended up writing about three thousand more words than I had since my first year trying. I had character names, plot lines, settings, I was cruising. But at the same time my blogging here for the HuffPost fell to a back burner.

And that's OK. The important thing is that I've been writing. But on the other hand, writing fiction, particularly long form fiction -- for me -- is another way of projecting; another way of avoiding. If I'm writing fiction -- a story that's not a real story, but is instead the fruits of my mind -- it means I don't have to look at what's exactly going on in my mind. (Yes, I'm ignoring that often fiction is a reflection of the author's trains of thought.)

I've been pretty focused for the past couple years on writing to get a book published. I want to be a published author. I want to look at my bookcases, my parents' bookcases, my siblings' bookcases and see my name on a book binding. The sort of book I hope to write changes every couple months. I first thought a romance novel. Then maybe a non-fiction book about Stalin and the early USSR through to his death (I actually got remarkably far on that one). Maybe a collection of essays inspired by my various blog posts and personal experiences.

In all of this thought process I think not about what I get out of my writing, but about what other people get out of my writing. Particularly when thinking about writing not revolving around me -- instead revolving around Stalin, fictional love stories, or anything not me, really. Focusing on others means I don't have to look at me. I don't have to think about me. And while I do find reprieve in that not focusing on me, there's nothing healing in it.

This quote from Cyril Connolly, "Better to write for yourself and have no public than to write for the public and have no self," reminded me why I blog -- for myself and for the HuffPo. I won't say definitively that I'm giving up on my dream of being published. I haven't. I still dream of some day having a book published in my name, or having a piece of my writing included in an anthology of some sort. But for now I'm going to focus on writing for me (added bonus for other people reading the writing). I don't want to sacrifice and lose myself in the hopes of "some day." The day I start catering to someone else's dictates is the day I start to lose the self I sometimes feel I'm barely hanging on to.