Monday, February 18, 2019

Where Do Dead Words Go?

The world has a pretty good record of the written word.  The Library of Congress stores over 150,000,000 items, including tens of millions of books.  But what about the words that are written, but never published?  Or the words that are written and erased or crossed out, created at one time but then no trace of their existence is left behind?

Maybe I shouldn’t obsess over the never-published or written but unsaved.  There are more than enough books available to the public that will go unread, ignored, or untouched.  Besides, the thinking might go, if something is good enough, it’ll remain on paper and it will get published.  But we know the book world and human spirit don’t work that way.

Plenty of great books go unpublished.  For the writer failed to get a literary agent or publisher and decides against self-publishing, what happens to that work? Where do those words, thoughts, ideas and experiences go once released by the writer but not made available to the public, a sort of book purgatory?

Writers often write something and then change their mind about keeping it. With the click of a mouse, they wipe out any evidence of thought, deleting their creation in a split second.  Is there any sense of loss or feeling of regret to go with disappearing one’s creation?

The editing stage is always the hardest for writers.  They are attached to what they wrote and it becomes painstaking to review everything they wrote.  After a few readings, nothing seems good enough or worthy of leaving intact.  Or worse, they fall in love with every word and can’t divorce themselves from any of them.

I often write with little editing or a changing of heart as to what blurted out of me.  I try to think logically, and at times emotionally, driven by my convictions and a desire to share my feelings, insights, and experiences, hoping to help others as I empty out onto a page the way one confesses a crime or absolves themselves of guilt to a therapist.

That which yields no written words seems like a wasted moment for the writer.  Words written, but then deleted on the spot or edited out later pain the writer.  And when words make it all the way through the process of a writer suffering life, thinking poetically, creatively penning the words, courageously letting them live  once composed, and warding off the executioner’s, er, editor’s blade, all that is left is to be published. But how many millions of books, encompassing trillions of words, died in the process?

The graveyard of the unpublished, even the unwritten, resides in the soul of every author and would-be writer.  Some people die a little every day when their words go unpublished.

Should a writer survive all that opposes him from writing and publishing a book, how many writers get to experience their books being widely read, where their words influence another, change a life, and make a difference?  Or where they receive critical acclaim, awards, and wealth from their writings?  And how many do all of these things can escape living a life of angst, depression, or loneliness, for the writer is a special breed, part-artist, part-victim of the world, here to record the trauma and at times, the wonderful victories that the human experience offers us.

I don’t want to ramble here, but I’m afraid it’s too late.  I’ve invested myself in free thinking and pontificating on the life of a writer’s words and I won’t edit s or take any of it back.  I’ve birthed it and the words will need to swim on their own, even against the current.  God, I love writing, and once I write something, I feel like I’ve already left my mark on the world.  My legacy is wrapped up in my words.  No one cares what I do, how I feel, or where I go – except for a few friends and family – but I find whatever is written down takes on greater importance.  The words can live forever, while my life is but a blink of time. I live more than ever when I write.

Thank you for reading this and giving my soul shape, form, and meaning.  I live to write – and I exist only on paper.

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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2019. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America.

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