I Don’t Want to Be an Author

I hadn’t actually thought much about being an author. Like, being an “I do nothing but write for a living” author. In the last couple years, as I worked retail while also writing my book, I thought maybe being a full-time author would be nice. Nothing like retail to make you embrace your introverted nature. I imagine drinking tea in my pajamas and writing beautiful things while everyone else is still asleep. I imagine drinking coffee at midnight because when I tried to go to bed, I thought of the perfect plot twist. I imagine going for walks with a purpose more than exercise, armed with a camera instead of an MP3 player.

I watch things like Castle and think, “One book a year. I could do one book a year.” And then Castle’s colleagues give him a hard time about only writing one book a year. So how many books a year is full-time? My favorite author as a middle schooler used to finish a book every month. Granted, they were kids’ fiction, but still, an entire story in one month? Is that full time?

And then we have people who do Ray Bradbury’s short story every week challenge. Is fifty-two short stories in a year a full-time author? I love short stories, and I’m not bad at writing them, but I don’t know if I could write fifty-two of them back to back without them turning into, “There was a toad who got ran over by a car the end.”

I’m slowly realizing that being a full-time author is not writing one thing at a time. I’ve had the luxury of doing this because I’m not an author. I’m a writer. For me, writing is self-expression, self-healing, self-fulfillment. Even if I could never publish a word, I would still be writing because writing is how I figure out what I think, how I work through repressed emotions, how I talk myself into trying something new for the first time.

But I write one thing at a time, and I work through what I think about it and how I feel about it and what its significance is in my life. And maybe that’s why my stories are truer than my reality, because my fiction is everything I can’t say out loud.

I am not an author. I haven’t been published. I haven’t even finished my book.

I am a writer. I speak with my fingers so much better than I do with my lips. And even though that’s sometimes inconvenient, and sometimes I feel incredibly socially awkward, I wouldn’t change that for the world.

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