I used to say I was “just a writer.” That I “just write.”
Whenever someone would call me an author, I would humbly respond, “I’m just a writer. I haven’t been published.”
Somewhere in my mind was this idea that I wasn’t a true author until my book was published. Not until I could see it on Amazon or a shelf at Barnes and Noble. Only then would I be a real author.
Not before. Not now.
Right now, I just write and dream of being an author. I’m an aspiring author.
But what does aspiring mean?
to long, aim, or seek ambitiously; be eagerly desirous, especially for something great or of high value.
Do I long, aim or seek to be an author?
person who writes a novel, poem, or essay; the composer of a literary work….
Well, according to those definitions–no. I don’t aspire to be an author.
I AM an author.
If you ask if I’m a person who longs, aims, and seeks to write a novel, poem, or essay, that’s wrong.
I’ve already done that.
I’ve already written a novel. I’ve written two, actually, and I’m working on a third. I’ve already developed the words and sentences and chapters and characters and everything that goes into the literary work.
So, I am not “just a writer.”
(In fact, according to the dictionary, there isn’t a difference. A writer is an author. They can be simultaneous. If someone is in the business of writing books, he or she is an author.)
It doesn’t matter if you haven’t been published. It doesn’t matter if you’re only halfway, or a third, or a fourth of the way through a piece of work.
YOU are an author.
You have come up with a beautiful, new idea. You are writing that idea. You are slaving away over every word choice, every twist and turn. You are getting to know your characters and bringing them to life. You are breathing the story in and out so others can one day do the same.
You ARE an author.
If you have queried a book that has been rejected countless times or you got an agent on your first try, you are an author. If you have gone on rounds and rounds of submissions, only to have to turn to another project, you are an author. If you have self-published and gone through the hard work of promoting your own story, you are an author.
You are an AUTHOR.
You have created a story, a life, a world out of nothing but words and your imagination. You have stayed up countless nights, lived off of coffee alone, and missed opportunities to make a deadline. You have sacrificed favorite characters or storylines for the sake of your art and stuck to your guns when you weren’t willing to sacrifice your hard work.
When you say you’re an aspiring author or you’re just a writer, you are saying that you are TRYING to be something, or you are MERELY something.
Don’t belittle yourself. Enough people are going to try to do that for you as time progresses.
YOU ARE AN AUTHOR.
Own it. Be it. Write it.
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This post was originally posted on Stark Contrast Editing‘s blog and has also been featured on Golden Wheat Literary‘s blog.