Thursday, August 1, 2013

What is it like to be an AUTHOR?

During the course of conversation, sometimes the subject of "what do you do?" arises. Though I could pull a book or two out of my purse and begin a marketing ambush, I often find myself shrugging as if it's no sort of accomplishment. "I'm an author," the announcement flows from my tongue somewhat awkwardly, as if I'm still unsure of it's reality myself.

Sometimes people just shrug, "Oh, that's nice, you write." Sometimes they often throw in a little, "I write too." And, on the rare occasion I'll get a,"Wow. That's cool. Do you have anything published?" And then the big question.... the one that probably should have me losing sleep at night... the one to which my answer is pretty lame: WHAT'S IT LIKE TO BE AN AUTHOR?

First, I suppose there is a small need for some clarification: There is a difference between an author and a writer. Though cursory as it may be, a writer is someone who writes, whereas an author is a writer who has had his/her work published. ("When it comes to writing books, a person becomes an author only when the book is published. So if you write a lot, but never get them published and out to the public, you remain a writer." - Read more: Difference Between Author and Writer | Difference Between | Author vs Writer )"

There are a lot of people who write. I meet a lot of them and have the utmost respect for their determination and talent. Writing is hard work! And, one might suppose that getting that golden publishing contract might just be the pinnacle of satisfaction... the final capstone to your great accomplishment... the end to which you pass your pain-stakenly polished manuscript off to big brother publisher and let him take on the work load so you can start a new chapter (or, as the case may be, a whole new book!)

Sigh... if only! For any hopeful writers out there seeking after that coveted publishing contract, please know that it is worth the work; worth the struggle; worth the rejection... but, being published does not mean the end of your work. To be honest, it is only the beginning. Writing is the easy part.

So, in answer to the question, "What is it like to be an author?," my answer is this:
Fabulous! Rewarding! Validating... and busy. I still do laundry, and dishes, and grocery shopping. But I also do a lot of marketing and planning and more marketing. And, while I do that marketing, my kids argue, my furniture gets covered in dust, and my yard gets bombarded in weeds. There are days I'm lucky to make it to the shower. And, the one thing I love to do, the thing that got this whole crazy ball rolling in the first place - the WRITING - often gets pushed to the back burner. The ideas don't stop, however, the time to bring life to them gets hindered.

Being an author is what you make of it. It can be work and stress, but it can also be the most rewarding thing you ever do. When a good review rolls in, or a piece of fan mail hits your inbox, or when a stranger recognizes you in the store and thanks you for making an impact in their life, all the stress magically melts away and all that hard work becomes justified. Penning (or, as is the case for most modern writers, typing) a book is a huge accomplishment. Becoming a published author is an exciting, crazy, whirlwind of an adventure. If you have the heart, the desire, and the perseverance, I say, "Do it!!" And, if you think it's the ticket to a quick, easy buck... I say, "Think again."

"A dream doesn't become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work." 
Colin Powell

1 comment:

  1. I loved this post. Great insights and perspective.


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