I’m more than a bit addicted to House Hunters International. Not only is the house porn exceptional (even though the couple NEVER choses the house they should), but I love the back stories. I spend a great deal of time betting whether the couple/family will survive living in a foreign country. (Dear House Hunters, Can you please, please do a five-year follow-up program?) I recently watched a re-run of a show involving a couple moving to Mexico. He was working on his first novel and had never written anything before. Yet, he had no problem calling himself a writer. I’ve just sent my 11th book off to the editor, and I still have an issue calling myself a writer. Why oh why do I have this problem? Naturally, I had to analyze the question. Here’s what I came up with.
Well of lost plots. One of the most popular responses people have to my telling them I’m a writer is – I want to write a book, too! Like, hey, it’s no big deal! Anyone can do it! They’re not exactly wrong. With self-publishing comes the ability for absolutely everyone to publish their ‘story’. It’s like running a marathon. You feel super proud and accomplished for having finished, but no one else cares. Until (and sometimes even after) you’ve written more than the initial book that absolutely everyone seems to write, it’s hard to be taken seriously as a writer. If no one else is going to take me seriously (besides family and friends that is), then should I take myself seriously? *rolls eyes* Um, yes, Dena, you should.
Money. Although I now earn a few hundred dollars of royalties every month, I in no way no how make enough money with my writing to support myself. Can I call myself a writer if I don’t live off my writing? Of course, I can! There are plenty of writers who write articles for well-known magazines and newspapers but can’t support themselves from such writing. Now to convince myself of this when people start asking those pesky questions about my ‘job’.
Indie. Indie writers may have been around for a while now, but we still get a bad rap. I literally cannot count the number of times someone loses interest in my writing the moment they discover I’m self-published. Sure, there are several self-published authors who have written bestselling books. Somehow telling people this information doesn’t endear me to them. I know I shouldn’t give a crap what other people think, but I’m only human and it’s hurtful when you meet someone new and they immediately dismiss you because your self-published. (Sure, this isn’t the type of person who I want to be friends with but still…) Now that I have ten published books to my name, I notice the dismissals are less blatant. That may be because I start by saying I’ve published ten books J
My ‘concerns’ about calling myself a writer are somewhat lame – as evidenced above. Maybe I should just get over it.