Identifying as a writer

Any writer worth his or her salt knows that if success is to be had, it involves a lot of hard work: the edits, the critiques, the revisions, the submissions, the rejections, the contests, the re-rewrites, and maintaining an active presence on this wonderful place we call the Internet. Drafting a novel is the least difficult of this process.

Long have I held a distinction between ‘writer’ and ‘author’. A writer is someone who, well, writes. An author is someone who has taken their piece of writing and transcended to the coveted publication distinction. Now my distinction is an antiquated as it is silly. In this day and age, publication is not solely reserved for traditional houses. Self-publishing has allowed many of those writers to say hey, I’m published now.

But can I be identified as a writer?

Logically, yes. I love to write. I do it everyday, if possible. I’m always thinking about whatever I’m working on, or gathering data for another project for the future. I have rejoiced in great ideas, and I have despaired over ideas that just didn’t come alive like I hoped. I have carved out the tiniest corner for myself on the Internet. Once, years ago, I had a detailed website dedicated to my epic fantasy, The Last Hero. It had everything: artwork, details about the races, the world, the gods, the works. I had a similar one for Renegade. Both were removed because I believed nobody gave a damn about my stuff, and that I was fooling myself into thinking I was going to make it in the business. All this happened shortly after the heart-wrenching feel of my first rejection, so it’s easy to see why I felt this way. I was in my mid 20s: old enough to think ‘Hey, come at me, bro,’ and young enough to cry like a baby when things went south.

I like to think that my personal opinion on Renegade‘s written quality led to the decision to pull it from Amazon. But it was only part of it. I’m the first to admit I hate the marketing aspect of the craft. Self-publishing scares the pants off me. And maybe there’s some residual feelings of rejection that linger in my heart. I accept that rejection is a part of the journey. No writer can say their very first project received dozens of offers from every major publisher. It’s sometimes hard to separate the practical side of myself from the emotional. It’s why I’ve started doing contests. It’s my way of working around to owning the writer’s identity others embrace so readily. I hope to add a good-looking website in the future. I am, like so many of my writings, a work in process.

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