Author in progress

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.


6 comments to Author in progress

  • Patrick

    I believe in you.

  • Mom

    Live the life you imagine…..everything else will fall into line.

  • Aimee

    The Oprah to my Gayle. (I haven’t forgotten.) And your mom (^) is a very wise woman.

  • Nat Ehrlich

    As a several-times published author, I have to comment…sadly…that there’s a lot of things you can’t control. The writing part gets you in the door, but then it’s up to the publisher as to how, and how aggressively, to market the work. And as for the getting in the door part, history is filled with authors whose first works were submitted dozens of times before being accepted.
    And I’m talking about a time decades ago, before self-publishing online was a possibility.
    You have a huge talent for doing what you do on Lime, writing conversational vignettes about moments in your life. Every genre requires a different technique, and third-person fictional narrative is a genre unlike any other.
    I’m not writing to advise you, just providing some information. Authoring is damned hard work – you don’t think that Fitzgerald and Hemingway and Faulkner (and many, many others) were heavy drinkers was coincidental.
    Finally, for what it’s worth, I gave up writing fiction myself almost 40 years ago. Sitting alone in my office late at night, 400 or so typed pages of a manuscript completed, I realized that I was writing fiction to give myself a better life than I was experiencing in reality. I threw those pages away and got busy working on my real life. That was true for me, not necessarily for anyone else. But I have to tell you, that was one of the three best decisions of my life. Never regretted it.

  • Darlene

    Follow your dream!

  • Tracy

    Whit, you wit will get you there……

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