When Did the Realization “I Am an Author” Hit?

A few months ago, another Second Wind author posted a question on a discussion group: When did the realization “I am a writer” hit?

I responded (incidentally, the answer still holds true): The realization that I am a writer hasn’t hit, and I’m not sure it will. I’m very involved with writing — I belong to various groups; I talk a lot about writing; and even when I’m not writing creatively, I’m writing: blogs and articles, comments and emails. But I don’t define myself as a writer. When you consider all that being a published writer entails — promotion, engendering good will, etc — writing is a small very small part of the whole.

If you were to ask the question: When did the realization “I am an author” hit? I can tell you exactly when it hit. It hit this afternoon.

The realization has nothing to do with a feel-good, puffed-chest, now-I-belong-in-the-ranks-of-the-published jubilation, and everything to do with  . . . work.

Yep. Work. I’ve been spending most of the past week querying book bloggers to see if they would host my Daughter Am I virtual book tour, setting up a schedule for the few who responded, figuring out enough exciting (or at least undull) activities for the tour, planning my online book launch party, filling out an author interview, preparing articles about writing for a new ezine, checking the final proof copy of Daughter Am I, waiting for the edits of Light Bringer my fourth novel so I can turn it in, helping plan a celebration for the latest releases from my publisher (sorry, Daughter Am I isn’t included in this batch). And, oh yeah, trying to keep up with my blog, my discussion groups, and my emails.

Now, that makes me feel like an author — doing so much authory work. Too bad there’s no time for writing. But I’ll start again soon. After my tour, perhaps.

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9 Responses to “When Did the Realization “I Am an Author” Hit?”

  1. Donna Carrick Says:

    Pat, if a writer writes (in the forest we call the Internet) and I am there to read it, then it makes you a writer.

    Actually, though, it’s a very good question. Some of us have always ‘lurked’, but it sounds as if you’ve been a writer for quite awhile, with or without the definition.

    For me, I was about 5 or 6. I wrote a ridiculous little poem based on Roses are Red. I can’t remember how it went, but I remember my pride reading it to my mother. I knew then I would always write.

    I’ve joked that being senile in a home won’t bother me much, so long as the staff are kind enough to humour me. They can give me a pen and some paper and push me around the grounds till we find a nice spot where I can “write”. I’m sure I”ll be quite happy.

    Writer am I — it’s the only label I’ve ever felt entirely comfortable with. Of course, I am also wife, mother, office manager… I have been daughter, still am sister, friend. The only constant among these is writer, though I wouldn’t ever have considered giving up the others.

    Thanks for the chance to discuss this, Pat. It’ helps me to remind myself occasionally why I love this passion of mine.


    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I don’t remember writing much when I was little — I was a reader though. All I ever wanted to do was read. I used to think as long as I had a book, I’d be quite happy no matter where I was.

  2. knightofswords Says:

    I’ve had a (mostly) private battle with this question for most of my working life. In college/corporate jobs as an instructor, training materials writer, technical writer, and corporate communications director, I definitely felt like a writer. My job titles specified that I was, and my output validated it.

    I haven’t worked for a corporation since 2001, but–like you–I have written novels and writing-related posts. Also book reviews for a magazine. Some grant requests. But often, I don’t feel like a writer because with little to no income from it, it often seems (at worst) like an expensive hobby and (at best) volunteer work.


    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Malcolm, you are so very right — volunteer work. That’s all it is. I was going to mention that little tidbit in my post — the no money aspect, but I didn’t want to sound too discouraging. But the truth is — so much work is involved, and so little money.

      I’m sure after the tour is planned, the articles written, the editing done, I’ll go back to feeling like my normal non-writer, non-authory self.

  3. knightofswords Says:

    After reading your post, I wrote a post about this same subject on my Malcolm’s Round Table blog.

    I think I was a little more upbeat there because I said that even obscure authors can still enjoy the writing itself, including everything that goes with it.

    Perhaps, if we drank Scotch all day like my Jock Stewart character, we would feel like more author-like. 🙂


  4. Sheila Deeth Says:

    Well, I’m glad you finally believe it Pat. We’ve known you were an author for ages!

  5. joylene Says:

    It actually comes and goes. There are days when I am filled with confidence and saying “I am a writer” slips off my tongue with ease.

    Then there are those moments when that dark small voice cried, “Who are you kidding!”

    The small voice is less frequent. That’s always good news.

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