I won’t apologize for letting this blog sit and gather a few cob webs. I’ve been engaged in the work this blog espouses. Writing. Reading. Editing. Learning. Oh, and periodically, living my life, too, outside of the literary pursuits–such as it is. Blogging is a spurt-sport for me. I do it in spurts. Not so with the writing of my books.
Currently, I am polishing up previous manuscripts, after learning new things. And while this is a fresh endeavor, it’s not due to any greenness on my part. I have said many times that I spent 20 years falling in love with my craft, rather than with my words. The tide has shifted so that I finally feel I can offer my work for public consumption in a more professional and acceptable way. So I’m doing that now.
I am also writing five other books. (I don’t work on them at once, really, but sometimes I get stuck on one, or inspired about another and I switch off. Different writers have different modus operandi. ).
The issue that has reared its mottled head, is that because I am not signed with a “traditional” publisher, but have been at this writing endeavor so long, I find myself in a strange netherworld of “Veteran Aspiring Author.” I do not feel like I “aspire” to be an author. I already am one. But then you have to get into the quagmire of definition. What is the difference between an Aspiring Author and An Author? “Aspiring” author tends to refer to the fact that I have no contract with a publisher other than myself (though I have turned down two offers on two different books). But I dislike the phrase Aspiring Author, as I feel it is at once a contradiction in my case. An author, in its simplest definition, and the one to which I refer, is a person who writes a book. Not tries to write it. But writes it. Completes it. When you begin your first book, you are a writer. When you have finished it, you then become an author. That is to me the most concise way of framing what an author is. So when someone refers to authors as aspiring, to me, it means they haven’t yet completed a book. To the masses, I suspect it might mean they are writing books but haven’t been published traditionally yet.
So, having said all that, I am an author. I have written 13 books (so far). I am currently writing 5 others. Imagine my discomfort when I try to find my peers. I join writing groups and the discussion is “How do I get ideas to write about?” or “Do I need to start a new paragraph when each character speaks?” or “Why dont publashers except my writeing?”
Okay, not on that level anymore… But having peer reviews from other “unpublished” writers can be equally frustrating, when I’ve read their work and know that they are still making horrendous stylistic, grammatical and plotting errors in their own material, while seeking to help me “improve” mine. That’s a risky thing to say, as it can easily come off arrogant. I assure you, there’s a difference between arrogance and substantiated confidence. I know I have progressed. I know I’m a much better writer now than I was 10 years ago, because I’ve put the hard work in, and will always continue to expand the mastery of my craft. The learning will never end. But I am no longer part of the beginning writers crowd. In fact, the most popular magazine for writers has become somewhat useless to me, as I stopped learning anything new from it, and in fact, realized I could be writing some of those articles myself. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am not arrogant, so I hope this doesn’t come off that way. I just don’t believe that false modesty serves any purpose. I am a good writer. I know that. Can I be better? of course, always. But it’s difficult to be in the position I’m in because it’s hard to find peers. And then, I have to also market my work in an environment that is still stigmatized–Independent/self-publishing. All this, while I feel like a veteran in the business.
Anyway. That’s where I am. Veteran Aspiring Author.