"I have approximately 20 books published. Until recently, if a writing group was divided by pubbed and unpubbed I automatically aligned myself with the non-pubbeds ... being published hasn't changed my insecurities." Linda Ford http://www.lindaford.com/
"I wasn't able to call myself a 'writer' without feeling inwardly doubtful about was I 'putting on airs' until I received my contract for my SECOND 3-book series ... I didn't feel comfortable telling people 'I'm a writer' until I was published in a way that looked like I'd achieved a promising career." Stephanie Whitson www.stephaniewhitson.com
"... during the five months it took me to write the first draft of my first novel, my husband was the only soul I dared to tell. I didn't call myself a writer until I sold my first book ... While I now claim 'writer' for lack of a better way to describe what I do all day, it still feels presumptuous to call myself a novelist." Deborah Raney http://www.deborahraney.com/
"I remember the first meeting of Georgia Romance Writers when I stood up and told them I was a writer. I felt like an alcoholic at an AA meeting! But it was a freeing experience to confess my secret life, hovered over a keyboard on the weekends!" Mae Nunn http://www.maenunn.com/
"... it was hard to seriously consider myself a writer before publication... I continued to believe publication was too big of a dream and my prayer wouldn't be answered the way I wanted it to be. Wrong -- prayer answered and I suddenly had a four-book contract." Tamara Leigh www.tamaraleigh.com
"It not only took publication for me to consider myself a writer, but multiple sales! Always in the back of my mind I thought I had just gotten lucky." Shelley Shepard Gray http://www.shelleyshepardgray.com/
"It took me a couple of books, at least, before I'd say out loud that I was a writer. I had such respect for books and writers that it was hard to put myself in that category." Gayle Roper www.gayleroper.com
"I published so quickly that I absolutely didn't feel like a writer before or after my first book released. And to be honest, I still sometimes struggle with confidence and feel like I'm getting away with something by claiming to be a writer." Bonnie Leon http://www.bonnieleon.com/
"I knew from the time I was in my teens that I wanted to be a writer, but even after publication, I wasn't convinced I'd made it." Veronica Heley www.veronicaheley.com
"I always wanted to be a writer but I didn't tell everyone that ... Then one day ... I went to the local library and sat in on a discussion that featured Flannery O'Connor ... [Later] I walked up to [my husband] and said, 'I'm a writer.' He smiled and said, 'Yeah, I know.' I said, 'No, I'm really a writer.' And from that day on, whenever people would ask me what I did for a living, I'd say, 'Well, I'm a writer.' Then the next question would always be, 'Oh, are you published?' And finally, the time came when I could say, 'Yes, I am.' I'm a writer." Lenora Worth www.lenoraworth.com
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
When is a Writer a Writer -- and not an Alcoholic?
Thirty! That's how many days you have left to enter our Audience-with-an-Agent Contest. This is your opportunity to have your manuscript read by premier agent Janet Kobobel Grant of Books & Such Literary Agency. To enter, go to our Promotions page and carefully follow the guidelines. We look forward to reading your submission.
Patti struck a chord with me Monday in the first paragraph of her post when she said, "I hadn't convinced myself that I was a writer." For Patti, it took a dedicated schedule to make her feel authentic as a writer. I certainly relate. It took nearly two decades before I could seriously call myself, or even think of myself, as a writer. I could say, "I write." And that I "hope to be published." But even though I spent 20 years working hard at the craft, and produced several novels, I didn't consider myself a real writer until I held Every Good & Perfect Gift in my hands. Not that I thought what I was doing all those years was make believe. But my hard work hadn't produced results, and I needed results to feel validated.
In preparing for this post, I put these questions to a group of Christian authors: Before you were published, was there a time when it was difficult to seriously consider yourself a writer? If so, did it take publication to change your feelings, or was there a point prior to publication when that changed? Here are portions of their responses. I hope you'll forgive the length of this post, but I wanted to include something from each one who responded.
I find it amazing that someone with 20 titles to her name still feels awkward calling herself "writer." But I find comfort in it, too, as I discover I'm not alone in my insecurities. I haven't "arrived" and maybe never will, but I'm in excellent company and I shouldn't take that lightly. Above all, as Christians we must never forget that we're responsible for using the gifts the Lord gives us, but He's responsible for the results.
So, work. In spite of your insecurities, in spite of your doubts, work. Practice may not make perfect, but it does make better. I close with this quote from Jodi Picoult: "The advice I give aspiring writers is to JUST DO IT. Sit down. It's not inspiration, it's hard work ... There are days you won't want to write; there are days you won't write well --- well, too bad --- you just do it and edit the next day ... If you continue to believe you can make it as a writer, eventually someone will look twice at you and wonder why you believe that so strongly. And sometimes, that second glance is all you need for a starting break."