Thursday, September 30, 2010

What is a writer?

When I first came up with the idea I wanted to be a writer, I had no clue what that really meant.  Write a story, get it published, that’s it.  Ha!

Those are only two SMALL elements of being a writer.  What I am finding is that it takes much, much more.  Here I detail what I think I writer is.

First and foremost, yes, writers WRITE!!  How can you call yourself a writer when you haven’t written anything?  Or you don’t write anymore.  I know I was there for a few years.  My writing wasn’t going anywhere, so I think I gave up trying.  I wouldn’t even write for fun, which I love to do.  From here on out, I will always write SOMETHING!  Even if it is only for my eyes.

Next, we must learn to be our own EDITORS.  Some writers loathe this element.  I don’t mind it so much.  It can get more time consuming that the actual writing.  You’ve poured your heart out telling this story, now you must nit-pick over it, cutting out unnecessary parts or adding scenes to help tell the story.  Heck, I have even had to cut out characters that were not helping the story along.  It can get rough.

Writers must be good RESEARCHERS as well.  For some ideas, fiction or nonfiction, very little research is needed if you are writing what you know.  But even then, research is a key element.  If I want my characters to travel to New Orleans and I have never been, I am going to need a glimpse of what that city looks like.  We can find everything on the Internet now.  I actually like to have actually gone were my characters go.  So if I have never been to NOLA, I can’t really write it (but that’s just me).  Even if my characters go to restaurants around town, I need to “feel” it myself.  Just an excuse for me to tour around my city for “research” purposes.

Writers need to be their own agents, so to speak.  Even after securing one, don’t think you sit back and let them do all the work.  You are still pushing for your novel/project to succeed.  Stay on your agent and make sure they are getting your project read by the right people.  It’s hard to really be your own agent and get a publishing deal, but it can happen.  If you go with a small publisher of self-publisher, and you are business minded, I think it could be done.   

Once we land a publishing deal, NOW the hard work begins.  You become a marketer.  You must begin, even before your work is printed, begin to market it.  There are infinite ways of marketing your work.  I’m not sure of them all and I am a marketing person!!  Social media right now is leading the pack.  Back when I studied marketing, mailing out fliers and promotional items was the bug thing.  Geesh!  I need a refresher marketing class.

I think then we can call ourselves an author.  We can go on author tours, sign autographs, have adoring fans, build a reputation with other authors.  We’re doing all these jobs, but first and foremost, writers WRITE!  We don’t stop writing once we land an agent.  We don’t stop writing after that first book has been published.

This is not a glamorous thing, being a writer.  Only few of us really meet that successful level were we have the name recognition of a Terry McMillan or Eric Jerome Dickey.  It's about more that that.  Just know that you have completed your main job, you wrote.

Read about my many types of writing: Creative Writing

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