If you're on the road to magical happy greatness, why are you on it? (Translation for magical happy greatness: publication and beyond.)
I think you can end up happily published with many different motivations, but at the same time I think motivation can be important. Is it for vanity or ego? Is it for validation? Is it to share?
I think for many writers there is a process you go through where your motives for the goal of publication slowly change. At first it's simply for vanity. So you can say: "Look bitches, I wrote this. They put it in a bright shiny book and it has my name on it...so there!" Although I'm sure you wouldn't say it quite like that.
Then a little bit of time passes and that becomes less important amd while there will always be that tiny bit of vanity there, it shifts to something else. External validation. I think a lot of writers get stuck here. We work hard, we develop our craft, we want publication.
Publication says that we weren't wasting our time. Although, on some level I have to wonder about the person who thinks writing is a waste of their time if they never get published. For me, writing is who I am. I learned a long time ago I can't NOT do it. I LIKE it. I like the process of creation and the process of molding that creation.
And yes I like for other people to read things I've written and to say it's good. Everybody does. But it's my personal opinion that external validation isn't the best motivation for seeking publication. For me, I want to be eventually happily published, because I want to share my words with a wider audience, and yes, get paid.
To me writing reaches it's highest expression when it reaches an audience. And while it's done it's job with even one reader, we writers are greedy and like to reach a lot more than one. I view publication as sharing.
You have to validate yourself. Don't look to someone else to do it for you. I think if your motive is for someone else to validate you then whether you get published or not you're always going to keep looking for that validation, because it comes down to self esteem and you not having it.
Self esteem isn't something someone else can give you, it's something you have to build within yourself. It's kind of a "Field of Dreams" thing. If you build it, they will come.
Am I saying there are "wrong" motives for seeking publication? No. This is a free country and anyone can seek publication (or any other goal) for whatever reason they choose. I'm just saying it won't validate you.