One of life's little speed bumps that I struggle with is how to present myself as a writer. Outside of my writing group - the most excellent Written Remains Writer's Guild - most people respond with a variation of, "Really?" when I mention that I'm a writer. In fact, I could add Professional Writer and/or Author titles in there if I was feeling especially proud of myself on a given day.
What qualifies me to represent myself as an author or professional writer?
The number of original documents I have penned at various jobs over the years is too numerous to catalog. In addition, I have been paid - in some cases quite well - to write specific documents; not as an adjunct to my normal day-to-day duties but solely based on my experience and ability as a writer. In fact, I've had a company lay me off and then call me back a week later to offer a freelance writing gig.
Alas, they did not offer me another full-time position, but they did pay me quite handsomely for a one-hundred page product guide. In my guise as a professional writer, most of my paying jobs have been of the technical writing ilk. I'll never turn down a good technical writing opportunity - that's a hint for anyone reading this blog, by the way - but I'm afraid my (writing) heart lies in fiction.
Unless you've been on a lunar expedition you may have noticed that I am recently returned from a mission trip to Haiti. Beginning with Day 1 and carrying on through Day 8, you are free to amuse yourself for hours (or more likely several minutes) by reading the blog series chronicling our trip. We had very limited Internet access during the week which led to me writing each day's entry after our return. But it was during our week in-country when I logged onto Facebook one evening and discovered a notice from the most excellent editors at Smart Rhino Publications indicating that my short story The Fire of Iblis (pronounced Ib-lee) had been accepted into their upcoming Someone Wicked anthology, scheduled for publication in late 2013.
Who's a paperback writer?
Technically speaking, I could still refer to myself as an author even without any publishing credits. Were I to finally complete my (newly re-branded) New Kingdoms novel series, I would still be an author even if not one page saw the proverbial light of day. However, as I alluded to in one of my Haiti blogs, I am one of those odd sorts that actually wants other people to read what I write.
The writing bug tends to come and go with me; mostly depending on how busy I am with work, home and church (not necessarily in that order). But despite incredibly long layoffs from creative writing that normal humans would not comprehend, I continue to have the current three volumes of New Kingdoms constantly on my mind in some way, shape or form. As of this particular moment in time, New Kingdoms will contain the novels:
- Night's Edge
- Dawn's Light
- Sunset's Fire
The Written Remains Writer's Guild has provided me an incredible amount of practical and moral support over the years and I can not adequately express my gratitude to Joanne and my guild-mates.
In closing, I'll leave you with a slightly edited version of the best writing advice I ever received:
Apply butt to chair.