Let’s get this out of the way…I just called myself a “writer”. This time, without the preluded tag of “aspiring”. That’s what I am now, a writer. For several hours of every weekday (and sometimes weekends), I write. I’ve written two novels and the first draft of a third. I’ve written over ten short stories, two children’s books, and three non-fiction articles. I write. I’m not aspiring to write any longer. It’s what I do. I’m a fricken writer.
There’s nothing glamorous about being a writer, so I don’t feel the need to devalue the title with a word like “aspiring.” It’s hard work. It’s a sore lower back from sitting too long, when you’re used to working on your feet all day. It’s plotting. Writing. Rewriting. Editing. Revising. Reading. Studying. Attending workshops. Then writing again. Hours and hours of butt-numbing, eye-crossing work for no pay, unless someone out there in the slushy sea of submitted work by thousands of people, notices your work over all the others. I spent two years writing two novels and haven’t seen a dime for all that work. I had no expectations, of course. Hope?Yes. But no expectations.
I didn’t say I was any good at it. I like to joke that they’re holding my pay until an unknown date – whenever the book publishing people think my work is good enough for compensation. (It’s not as easy as one might think.)
I hear encouraging words from many people about the lives of Stephen King, JK Rowling, and other famous millionaire authors that were rejected at first. Everyone gets rejected. Believe me when I say that I understand that all too well, and I have no assumptions that my work would ever reach the level of popularity as the aforementioned authors. I simply strive for one of these publishers or agents to one day say, “OK”.
Many people are impressed when I say I’m a writer, but become suddenly unimpressed when they learn I’m not published (or self-published). Published non-fiction articles don’t seem to impress, so we’ll leave those out of the story for now. No. It’s not exciting that I’m not published. But it is exciting (for me) that I’m trying.
I am content in knowing that I self-published a children’s book that had over 13,000 Kindle downloads, and it found it’s way to the Barnes & Noble online store. I am content that I wrote an entire novel (three actually)! I’m a writer, and I’m trying really hard to get paid for it, but until then, I’ll just keep writing for the love of doing it.
So for those who have asked for advice about writing that book you’ve always wanted to write… Do it! Don’t be discouraged by rejection. Write it for you. Write it so you can mark that off your list of things to do in life. Write a book so you can say with pride, “I wrote a fricken book!”