I got serious about writing a little over a decade ago. That’s when I started writing novels as well as researching the craft of writing and the publishing industry. I finished writing my novels about seven or seven years ago, then concentrated on rewriting and polishing the manuscripts to make sure they were as good as I could possibly make them. Meantime, I sent out hundreds of query letters in an effort to find an agent or publisher.
You’d think all those years focused on the craft of writing, rewriting, editing, proofing, querying would qualify me to call myself a writer, but it was just something I did, not something I was, so I never gave myself the title.
Even after my first two books were published by Second Wind Publishing in 2009, I still didn’t identify myself as a writer, except in relation to the books. For example, Pat Bertram, author of More Deaths Than One. I now have five books published — four suspense novels and one book about grief — but I still didn’t call myself a writer. It seems sort of silly and, considering all the millions of writers who have a book listed on Amazon, makes me not the least bit special. And anyway, I don’t make a living off writing, which would, I think, be a major qualification to list “writer” as one’s occupation.
Today, I had to go to the bank to fill out some paperwork, and they asked my occupation. Oddly, the only thing that came to mind was “writer.” I laughed to myself and said sotto voce, “What the heck.” Then, louder, I told the clerk, “I am a writer.” (It’s a good thing they didn’t need to ask what my income was. They’d probably have laughed in my face.) Still, “writer” sounded so much more interesting than shrugging off the question about occupation with a brief comment about taking care of my father.
So now it’s official. I am a writer.
Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+