I am a writer. Sometimes I feel like I have to defend this basic premise of who I am. I am a writer because I write – most days in fact. I don’t always write a lot, but I get the words out of my brain and into the computer. Therefore I am a writer.
The problem is when I tell people that I’m a writer, they want to know what I have published. I don’t have anything (other than this blog) published yet. I’m a writer, not yet an author.
Some definitions are in order (my own, since this is my rant)
Writer = someone who writes regularly.
Author = someone who has been published.
By these definitions, an author must be a writer, but not the other way around. In math terms that makes authors a subset of writers. I can’t say that I’m surprised that so many people assume that just because I write, I am also published. Not so. Publishing, it turns out is very different from writing.
Writing is something I can do all by myself. I never have to show anyone. I can play with the words all day long. It’s fun. Publishing means a lot more work. Not only do I have to have written – otherwise there is nothing to publish – I have to show it to people.
If I want to go the route of traditional publishing, I have to show it to a small subset of readers known as editors. Editors are a scary group of readers for a writer. They are readers who will judge you and their judgment determines whether other readers even get a chance. These editors are picky too. They want your story in a particular format, free from typos and plot holes. They aren’t looking at your story with an eye for how good it is, they are looking for a reason to reject it. That’s harsh – I get why it must be that way, but it is harsh.
On the other hand I could self publish. That takes a lot of work too. I’d have to learn how to format my story for all the e-readers out there (since I don’t have the cash to dump into making hard copies of my book). I’ll still have to find a copy-editor to help me make my story presentable to the public. Someone will have to make the cover art and since I’m not much of a visual artist, that’s another hire for me. Then there is the marketing and promotion. There will be some readers out there who don’t like my work and insist on telling me about it.
For now, I’m still seeking traditional publishing. That means that whether I become an author isn’t my decision, yet.
What I can decide is whether to be a writer. I do that every day that I sit down in front of my computer, put my hands over the keys and write.
I am a writer.