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.
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.