What I’m writing – To call myself an author

Good intentions and all
Good intentions and all

I think of the people around me as authors but the kicker is that in my head, I am not an author. I am a dabbler, a drafter, a scrawler. What I do is so far removed from what real authors do its, well, it’s unreal.

Until I can say I have acheieved something with the millions (slight exaggeration) of first drafts I have stored away, being told I’m an author means nothing. Being an author isn’t just about writing the story, it’s about editing and a those other things I just can’t do, and a huge dose of self-belief.

So, here’s my guide to being a dabbler, for those who feel author just doesn’t fit their style.

1) Write. Write some more. And write even more. Pump out first drafts like your life depends on it. Something will stick. Eventually. Maybe.

2) Edit some stuff. You’ll probably find you’re good at it, having sat and read your own stuff a million times over and picked it to pieces. But then you get disheartened because in your frantic drafting, you’ve completely messed up a major turning point in the story and now it doesn’t work at all and the heart needs ripping out while your own heart is bleeding out of your chest and it’s three a.m and no one else is awake and why oh why did you ever think you could do this stupid fucking story *breathe*

3) Talk about submission. A lot. Do it once, get nothing then see above.

4) Get involved with other writers, encourage them, then get jealous when they publish stuff, or worse, get a book deal. Try to feel happy for them, because it’s more proof that one day, if you ever get your balls out, you’ll do it.

5) Base your characters on real people. Tell those people you’re writing a novel. Make things super awkward because the character you’ve based on a real person turns out to have some really kinky sex scenes with the main character who is based on you. Realise you can never let this see the light of day.

6) Release it into the public domain anyway, as is, complete with typos and a disclaimer “This is really raw xx” and hope people don’t chew your face off. Then read it back and realise that it really is just a big pile of wank. And the sex scenes are terrible.

7) Cry.

8) Cry some more.

9) Spend ten hours a day writing about how heartbroken you are in your journal while your kids drink bottles of calpol (that was a fun trip to A&E) and the cats shit on the beds. Use work as an excuse for being a lax member of the community you created.

10) go to 1.

If in doubt, moan about it all on Facebook.

Happy dabbling.

Writing Bubble

16 thoughts on “What I’m writing – To call myself an author

  1. Having read some of your work, you are an author, you are talented and need to have more belief in yourself. I know what you mean though, I could have written a lot of this. I have been writing and one day want to get published, but will I ever get one finished and edited? I’m sorry to hear about the calpol incident, what a nightmare. Big hugs. You can do this lovely, one day I will be buying your book, I know it. x

    1. Thank you! (Still don’t believe it though). Calpol incident was quite a crappy night. He even licked the spoon though. Little wotnot. x

    1. Exactly. Submit more stuff I guess? Get organised enough to actually do something about it? Spend more time with it?

  2. This made me laugh because it is so honest, and shows your writing! I’m sure your book is much better than you think it is (we are our own worst critics, aren’t we?) so as Nicola says, it’s just breaking the cycle… Sure you will get there!

    1. Thank you :). Some of the drafts are better than others, and I’m still learning. We have good days and bad days, don’t we?

  3. Ah, Chrissie! You are such a talented writer, but self-belief is pretty hard isn’t it? I have to admit this did make me chuckle, in a good way, it’s all so true (but so sorry about the calpol incident).

    1. Thank you, Sara, glad it made you laugh. Yeah, the Calpol incident wasn’t all that much fun, but he didn’t like the blood test of having a cannula in his hand all that much so I don’t think he’ll be doing that again.

  4. I’m sure that many writers can see themselves in what you’ve written! But I certainly see a writer who needs a better title than ‘dabbler’. How about apprentice? Journeyman? Or should that be journeywoman? Pick whatever ‘serious’ title you like if it helps you to feel more writerly or more ‘professional’. And the more you write the better you’ll get, and the more confident you’ll get… and then one day you’ll get to be where you really want to be. Then you’ll re-read this and be able to laugh wholeheartedly. Sending hugs and best wishes your way! xx

    1. Thank you. I like journeyman – it reminds me of when I used to play World of Warcraft. Not ready to be a pro at the moment, but enjoying dreaming of being pro (my latest character is a chick lit novelist.) x

  5. I think it’s hard to give yourself the title ‘author’ I still think of that as being confined to people who get book deals. I prefer ‘writer’ as it’s more all-encompassing. You’re definitely a writer and unfortunately it often comes with the cycle of angst you describe here. In fact I don’t know an un-angsty writer. How we suffer for our art ; ) I’m sure you’ll get more positives in there soon x

    1. YES, to the book deals. I also think there’s an element of prestige that comes with the title, even though I am technically an author (I’ve written 13 first drafts and two second drafts!). I have days when I can’t even think of myself as a proper person though, so I think my reactions are quite extreme (and angsty. I never grew out of the angst except now it’s less about body image and boys and more about flaws in my personality) x

  6. I haven’t read any of your fiction, but based on this post you’re bloody funny which is an excellent start. But man, it is hard, isn’t it? Have you seen any of the excellent Guillaume Morrisette infographics on writerly angst? There’s one on my blog at http://www.rebeccaannsmith.co.uk/how-its-really-going-when-you-ask-me-how-its-going/ or you can find him on twitter @anxietyissue – I often look at his stuff when I’m feeling inadequate and it makes me smile again. Keep going. The more you put stuff out there the less painful putting stuff out there will become (well, that’s what I’m hoping).

  7. I don’t think of myself as an ‘author’ either – I’m leaving that till I’ve published a book and then I intend to seize the label with both hands. You are so far over being a dabbler though. So very, very far. 13 first drafts is awesome. Get your balls out and put them somewhere really high up so you can’t ever hide them again then , i dunno, inject them with something phosphorescent so they glow in the dark and you can see them and never doubt their existence. Follow those glowing balls all the way through editing to publication. BOOM. (in summary – you have immense talent – go for it.)

    1. Love that you’ve taken the balla analogy and totally turned it into something extremely bizarre haha. Thank you, I will. Maybe. xx

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