As I float around the internet in my seemingly never-ending quest to gather listeners by my fire (tactless plug here: Dawn of the Lightbearer), I come across all sorts of statements that say relatively the same thing. They use words like aspiring, wannabe, fledgling, future, etc., followed by writer/ author. I, too, used these words when I first entered the community until I realized one day that I should be rather than aspire. You can aspire all your life, but once you be, you’re there and can focus on other adjectives like great, prolific, successful, world-famous, best-selling, full-time, rich- whatever.
If you write, then you are a writer. Simple as that. If your writing develops into a literary work such as a book, then you are an author. Some may say only those that publish with a publishing house can be a “real” author. Really? As a society, do we want to give that power of nomenclature to a corporation that cares more about the bottom line than expressing the human experience? Nah. I’m not ok with that and will fight it tooth and nail. Publishing houses are just one option to sell what you, the AUTHOR, created. If that is the route you choose and it works out for you, that’s awesome, but please don’t let the suits define you.
There is nothing in the definition of writer or author that says you need a certificate or must reach some magical landmark to use the titles. If there were, what would those be? To finish a work; to publish; to sign a book deal; to become a best seller; to write full time; to be rich and famous? At what point would you cross the line and delete the adjective? Do you need someone to tell you you’ve made it? Well, I’ll let you know, author. If you’ve spent hours of your life creating something in words, then you’ve got my approval. If you need someone closer to you for that pat on your back? Then, ask your mother. I’m sure she would oblige. You’re a writer, author, or whomever you want to be.
I suppose if you haven’t put words on a page yet and find yourself just dreaming of writing a book, then ok, maybe the adjective makes sense there, but I’ll also say, what are you waiting for? More time?
Life is finite. You will never have more ticks on the clock than you have right now. Facing a blank screen (or a stack of empty sheets if that’s your poison) may be scary. All great things in life create a bit of unease, but I will tell you from experience that writing a book is not hard and it probably won’t kill you. You do one page at a time. It may be foggy in that head of yours at first or you may think none of your ideas are any good. Who cares about all that jazz? Just write, and you’ll find things begin to clear and confidence build. Sure, you may delete or throw it all away, but that only pushes you one step closer to your goal. You got that terrible idea out of your head and realized it’s crap- this only leaves more space for the tasty stuff.
Writing is easy. It’s making it good where it gets tricky, but you can’t get better without practice. Right? If you are certain you only create junk, that’s fine. No one ever needs to see it. Just enjoy the process. But, I’ll tell you, the real joy is sharing your stories with others- placing your world into someone else’s head through the power of words is true telepathy and is just as magical. But they’ll hate it, that voice may say, and my response is this. Even if you write the best prose the world has ever seen, there will always be someone out there that will click the thumbs down button, give you a one-star, or has made it their life mission to be someone else’s cloudy day.
Be bold, grasp the title, and create your world! No one is going to believe in you unless you believe in yourself.