A friend of mine, Danielle Bannister author of Pulled, wrote a blog this morning that made me chuckle. It was about the perceptions that many people have of writers. To be honest, I had some of those myself until I actually became an author.
First off: Writing in your Pj’s.
Heck yeah I do that! Wouldn’t you? They’re comfy, forgiving on overindulgence and just about my favorite type of clothing to wear. Come on…be honest. If you had the option of putting on those heels and a dress to head out to the office or staying home and working in Pj’s, wouldn’t you choose comfort clothes hands down?
What do you think I’m wearing right now? Ha Ha!
Second: Pacing while wrestling with your muse.
Hmmm…this was an image I had when I was younger. I used to picture a man sunk low in his chair, pinching the bridge of his nose as he mentally slammed his head against a brick wall. To be honest, I’m sure this is true for many people. Thankfully I’ve really never experienced this. Ideas come easily to me. BUT…anytime I try to set a goal date to finish, things screech to a halt. Not because the ideas fled, but because life seems to pile up around me, screaming for attention.
Third: A room filled with crumpled papers with scrawled notes written in haste that are tossed aside.
In the virtual word this is no longer a sustainable visual image. Although I do have some friends who still prefer a good old pen and paper. For me, it’s a delete key and a computer trash can. Or a massive file of odds and ends that I’m convinced will help me at some point during my career.
Fourth: Writing a big hit must be easy since my library is full of books.
If this is real, someone please tell me how! To be honest, maybe 1% of all writers actually land a publishing contract, and even that doesn’t mean instant success. Have you ever read the stories behind your favorite authors? How many of them managed to land that amazing book deal on their first attempt. *Forget about Stephenie Meyer. That’s not normal!*
Some of the best authors today fight for years to find an agent. Did you catch the key word? It’s not years it’s fight. They didn’t give in to the countless rejections. They pushed through, persevered and improved their writing skills during that time.
People think “hey, I could be a writer” without ever truly understanding how intense it can be. Writing a book is not an easy thing to do and getting it published the traditional way is nearly impossible unless you can show you have supporters or you are willing to let the stack of rejection letters mount high while waiting for that yes.
Fifth: I’m gonna make it big, sell millions of copies and retire to the Bahamas.
Sounds great doesn’t it? Sure it does. It’s certainly something I wouldn’t snub my nose at. But it’s not as easy as it sounds.
Want a glimpse into my life as an author? I spend a couple hours every day blogging, posting on my author page on Facebook, checking Linked In, emailing, responding to comments and checking book sales. And that’s only online.
That doesn’t include phone calls, appointments, scheduling author meet and greets, passing out flyers, designing marketing items, talking to businesses about selling my book, typing letters to libraries to see if they would include my book, keeping up with the market or talking to people one on one about what I do for a living.
Have I mentioned anything yet about writing the actual books?
What about rough drafts, editing, creating book covers, formatting ebooks, drafting print on demand files or storing away ideas for future books?
Still think it’s easy to be an author?
BUT…there’s always a but. For you to be successful with anything you do, you have to enjoy spending the time it takes to reach that level of success. Spending 6 hours a day behind my laptop creating quirky characters is the best and only job I could ever truly do. It’s my passion…my obsession some might say.
It’s what gets me out of bed each morning. Why? For love of the written word? Yes…but it’s more than that. I write not just for myself, or for my readers, but for my family.
I write for my husband. He puts a lot of his time and effort into helping me succeed with my dream and I want to give back to him. For my son, because he gives me the inspiration I need to be the best writer I can. For my extended family who have supported me through every agonizing step of my journey so far. For my mother, whom I know would have been proud of me if she were still alive.
These people are the ones that motivate me. That keep me pushing on even when I want to curl up in the corner and cry because I don’t think I can do it all. I’m not perfect, and to be honest, I’ve got a lot of growing as an author before I can consider myself to be “good” but I’m excited to learn something new with each day that passes.
So, how have your perceptions of the writing field changed? Or have they?