I, and probably you as well, am often asked what I do. For me, there are multiple answers. I’m a mother, a homemaker, a freelance editor, a book consultant, Partner and Marketing Director for Legends In Our Own Minds®, blogger, volunteer and, of course, a writer. The first seven replies don’t elicit much of a response or even interest. But if I say “writer” then the other person perks up. They invariably ask a follow-up question like, “Really? What do you write? Would I have read your books?”
If any of you have said you were a writer, you’ve probably gotten this question. It doesn’t matter whether you’re unpublished or published in magazines, anthologies, newspapers or online. If you say, “I write feature articles,” you’ll get a disappointed look. If you say, “I write technical articles,” their eyes glaze over. If you say, “I’m unpublished,” you’ll get a look of “What the hell? You’re not a writer.” First of all, they want to know that you’re a book writer. Second, they want to know they can go to their local Barnes & Noble or nearby store and find your book. Having your book available on your website and Amazon doesn’t cut it with those without an eReader. Your book has to have an established bookstore’s seal of approval. Although with more and more people getting eReaders, being e-published is becoming more acceptable. On the other hand, more quickie books and spam books being uploaded, which isn’t driving people to try unknown authors.
A lot of times, someone who isn’t published in book form but is asked that question won’t even answer with “I’m a writer.” They’ll give some other answer. Just to avoid that follow-up question. That look.
But what I’ve decided is that writers don’t need affirmation from others to call themselves writers. The title of “writer” isn’t something another person bestows on you. And it’s not something they can take away with a disapproving look. If you decide you’re a writer, then you give the title to yourself, whether you write books, screenplays, articles, essays, poetry, short stories, or greeting cards, published or not.
Good chance you’ll still have to endure the responses you get when others find out you’re not published in book form – or possibly worse, you are but your books are now out of print. But no matter what looks you get, those looks can’t take away what you are. Only you can decide you’re a writer. Only you can decide you’re not. It’s true that writers write. Writers also believe … in themselves.
4 months ago