I’m not sure why, but it’s hard for me to remember that I am published. Perhaps it’s because I’ve only published a short story (so far) or perhaps I’ve thought of myself as unpublished for so long it’s just stuck in my head. And then I thought unpublished is so harsh. It’s as if I’ve failed before I even get started. I prefer pre-published. It has a more hopeful tone to it. Maybe some of you are asking, “What’s the difference?” Nothing published is still nothing published no matter how you say it. Oh, but I disagree. And here’s why.
First I consulted the Oracle of Google for a little insight. Pre means previous to, before. Un means not, lacking, opposite of, contrary to. So if I have to choose the prefix I want sitting in from of published, then I choose pre.
These three little letters change my mindset. They take me from the realm of futility and escort me into the world of possible. Pre = before, Un = not. With pre I will get there, but un tells me it’s never going to happen. Pre is the trip down the river. Now I might have to steer around rocks and boulders and rapids are probably up ahead, but pre is moving. I’m headed in the right direction. The river, the water, propels me forward. It whispers to me, it encourages me. It’s positive and bright and within my grasp.
lets me into the party. I can look in the eyes of the published writers and see mentors and heroes and friends. One day I will attain published status, but I’m accepted now. I’m in the party, not because I’m published, but because I am a writer. If Un had its way, I would be at the window looking in. Afraid to open the door, let alone knock on that huge portal. Un intimidates me. Un is huge and ugly and laughs at my audacity to even, for one second, think I could accomplish something so big as published status.
Un is my adversary. It sits in the corner and refuses to help me. Un mocks me. It questions my ability, my skill, and my commitment. It’s a fight up the river where the water pushes against me. The rapids conceal the rocks and boulders that tear at the bottom of my fragile canoe. The work is still hard, but it drains me. There is nothing promising about Un. Those two tiny letters have the power to knock me over. Un is relentless. It can cause me to doubt myself. There is nothing forgiving in Un.
So I prefer Pre. Am I fooling myself? Probably. Does it matter to anyone else besides me? Nope. Changing how I see myself is what helps to drive me forward. I am a lot of things as you’ll find out, but I’m not a quitter. Un has tried to get me to quit. It almost worked, but I am still here. I am still determined. I’m still writing.