Thursday, February 9, 2012

What it Means to be a Writer

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Today, I want to discuss what it means to be a writer.

When you introduce yourself as a writer, you get a myriad of responses. Most people are incredibly curious and intrigued. Some people assume that you don't want a real job, are living the easy life, etc. You will also get a lot of people who tell you that they want to write a book, too. The problem is: most people you encounter have no idea what it takes.

The reality is, we are hard-working, dedicated people. We write because it has been a passion of our for however long. Our passion does not pay us the millions that we'd all love to see. It takes time, dedication and focus.

To be a writer, you need to be able to write. However you do this doesn't matter. But you need to be able to write distraction-free as much as you can. It's not always easy, and it's often rather anti-social, but that is what we need to do.

You also need to be objective enough to edit and re-vamp your work. You don't submit a first draft to a publisher.

You also need to be persistent in pursuing publication. Query letters and submissions take a lot of work and attention to detail as each publisher requires something different.

Once you've been published, it takes a lot of time and dedication to promote your work, acquire readers, etc. You need to connect with readers on-line and in person. You have to get your name out there and constantly expand your circle so that people you might not ordinarily know will be able to get your book in their hands.

And while you're doing all of this promotional work, you should be back at the beginning and writing all over again. A good writer never stops creating and growing.

The truth of the matter is, when I was writing and only writing (I do have a day job as a licensed veterinary technician, but took a few years off due to medical issues. I'm back at that again, too) I worked far more than 40 hours a week. I would be up and at it at 7 am and go until 7, 8, even 9 o'clock in the evening. There was one day I wrote 10,000 words, but it took me over 10 hours to write that day. I have to be self-disciplined, focused and steadfast in my work. If I'm not, I am failing myself, my publisher and my readers.

Writing has been my passion since childhood. I wouldn't want it any other way. Yes, it takes a lot of time, energy and dedication. I've always known that. I have to be realistic. I have to do what it takes if I want to be more than just a writer - to be a good writer.

This week at the animal hospital, I will have somewhere between 50 and 60 hours. I have a short story I'm working on. I have this blog and I have all of my promotional work. I also have a wife and family. But this is the life that has chosen me. I don't think anyone in their right mind would choose this, it's something within us that chooses us to do this and be this way. And that's ok. We get it done and we love it. It takes a lot to be a writer, and that is what makes it great! :)

Happy reading!

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