Author. Author. Sounds so elite, so presumptuous. And while I’d like to tell you that I am, in fact, an author, I can’t. Sure, I’ve penned plenty of newspaper columns and articles, got a few bylines in magazines and have been contributing to this website for five years, but it’s not the same caliber as writing a book and distributing it to the masses. “Author” is one of the many job titles that isn’t so much granted as it is earned. It’s like running a marathon before getting your medal. Hitting the home run and then rounding the bases. Author is only a title you can have when you’ve been there and done that. And I haven’t.
Which leads me to my life as of late. Whether it’s family or friends or everyone at my dad’s wake or the guy making my cherry limeade at Panera (highly recommend, by the way), people always find a way to turn any conversation into one about my unemployment, nay, self-employment (see: looking on the bright side).
“So where are you working now?”
“I actually quit my job last fall to write full time.”
“What kind of writing?”
“Book writing. Mostly fiction”
“Oh! So have you published anything?”
“No, not yet.”
“Oh.” ::utter disappointment::
And suddenly my Starbuck’s barista is looking at me with pity, as if I am some sort of failure who needs to be coddled like a mostly-dead bunny a cat left on the stoop. Conversations dwindle after that, but not my spirit. Nor my hope to turn this dream into something I can sign my name on.
Today I have nothing to show for the last nine months of work. No book sales, swag, signings, tours. But I’m okay with that today. Because writing is an art form. Similar to “innocent until proven guilty,” I’m a non-author until proven published.
I knew this would be scary. I knew I’d feel pressure. I knew I would be broke. But I also know I’m meant for great things. And I never, not a single day, regret pursuing this.