If you’re reading this you’re probably an author, or at least you want to be. I bet you have wondered how you get there.
How do you go from wanting to be a writer to being an author with your name on the cover of a book?
How do you get to wear one of those t-shirts that says “Ask Me About My Book – Published Author.” Don’t you need to know what you’re doing? Don’t you need a college education? Don’t you need a history of writing projects?
In my journey, I found that admitting and believing that I was a “real” writer was the first hurdle to overcome on this road to authorship that I unexpectedly found myself traveling on in life.
I mean, I didn’t have a fancy university diploma framed on my wall.
I was a blogger, and I’d only been doing that for several years. The rest of my life before that I wrote in journals now and then when I found it helpful. That was my experience and knowledge. The one thing I kept hearing all the time from others was that I had talent.
“You’re a good writer. You should write a book”, they said.
Though half the time I wasn’t sure I believed them. After all, what did they know?! They weren’t a professional anything anymore than I was. Even after I had two book projects in progress and a couple of blogs, getting great response, I still didn’t think of myself as a real writer.
There were a couple of things that helped me to go from this state of mind to finally saying to other people “I am a writer.” And, as of December 1st, 2014 I can finally say to others “I am a published author.”
The first thing was reading a book called “If You Can Talk You Can Write” by Joel Saltzman. I learned from this book to stop worrying about the “proper” way to say things, or editing as I went along, and to just write down the words that were in my head.
If I could think those words and they made sense, then others could read them and understand them as well. Just stop over-thinking about it and write it down! Don’t worry about editing as you go. That’s what your editor is for.
The second thing that helped me to finally stop being afraid to say that I am a writer, was when I took part in a writing challenge. It all started one day when I was talking to my BFF on the phone. I was talking about “that book”. You know, the one “I’m going to write some day.” I had talked about it for years.
He said to me “Carley, you have to shut up talking about this book and either write it or give up the idea.”
I hung up the phone thinking he had gotten up on the wrong side of the bed that morning.
Then it hit me. “Oh. My. Gosh. He’s right. I have to make a decision. Do I want to write this book or not?”
There was only one answer. “Yes!”
Then my friend, mentor, and author, Brenda, called and said she wanted me to enter this writing challenge, and write my book. It was only four days before the start date.
I said, “But I’m not ready. It’s much too soon. I have reading to do, and research. I have to organize my notes.”
“Forget all that stuff”, she said. “Worry about all that afterwards.”
So I made the decision. A little while later I entered into the writing challenge. I started my book. I didn’t finish the book at that time, but I wrote more than the minimum number of words that was the goal of the challenge. When it was over they sent me a certificate of accomplishment.
As I held it in my hands, being very proud of my work, it hit me like a ton of bricks, “I am a writer. I am a real writer!”
So here’s the clincher to finally knowing for sure if you are a real writer. You have to ask yourself one question: “Do I actually do any writing?”
If the answer is yes, then you can finally, without reservation, tell the world “I am a writer!” Congratulations, you are on the path to a whole new career as an author.
Carley Cooper is:
- Co-Author of Groove: Stories to Refresh How We Think and Feel about Our Mental Illnesses with Daphne Tarango (& 8 other inspirational writers)
- Now on Amazon in Paperback or in Kindle (UPDATE: Groove is now in the top 100 in two Amazon categories (Mood Disorders and Depression). It's also mentioned in the “Hot New Releases” list!)
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