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Writer vs. Author. Which one am I?

Being a writer versus being an author.

I didn’t realize there was a difference until I began my second career as a professional writer. Sorry, professional author.

I have been a writer for a long time. I wrote fanfiction; I wrote books and stories I never published. Writing was a hobby. I never thought much beyond that, even though I posted my fanfiction on various sites. Once it was posted, I was done. If people read it, great. If they didn’t, well, that kind of sucked. But I was really only writing to entertain myself and get the stories that played on a constant loop out of my head. I posted them because it was fun.

I was a writer.

All of that changed when I took on the mantle of soon-to-be-published writer. I became an author.

According to the publishing world, if your work has been published you are an author. With book number one coming out soon, I guess that makes me an author.

There is a difference, especially in the mindset one develops. It didn’t occur to me that now my writing is a second job, not until my husband casually mentioned that I had two jobs one day. I stared at him for a second, not quite getting it, then it clicked.

I am an author. I have a second job. As a writer. The dream came true.

This has changed the way I approach writing in a number of ways. First and foremost, when writing was a hobby, if I chose not to write, it wasn’t a big deal. I could go days or weeks without writing and it was okay. Now, if I skip a day of writing, I feel a tiny twinge of guilt.

That has forced me to put myself on a schedule. I have a daily writing goal of 500 words. Most days I hit it, some days I don’t. My weekly goal is 3500 (500 x 7 – look I did math). I try to hit that as well, so if some days I don’t write 500 words, I make it up on other days. I’ve been pretty good at making my weekly goal.

I’ve also become a lot more critical of my writing. I put it through multiple edits before I send it to my betas and even more edits before I send it to my publisher’s editor. Once upon a time, I used to read it a couple times and then post it. Not anymore.

I’m also more conscientious of my time. I try to work on all aspects of being an author – marketing, editing, brainstorming, research, reading, and writing. Again, I set daily and weekly goals for myself and I track it in this amazing tool called The Author’s Accountability Planner (available for purchase here). If you want a book to keep you on track and accountable, this is the one. I highly recommend it.

I’ve gone through a lot of personal and professional changes in the last six months. Changes that are making me a better person and hopefully, a better writer.

A better author.

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Hello, World! I’m Mimi. And I’m a Writer

According to some people, I’m old. Far too old to be venturing into any kind of alternative career path, or trying to make a name for myself. I’ve even been told I’m too old to write the things I write. Maybe that discouraged me, put me on a path of self-imposed mediocrity. I bought into the idea that I was too old to do something new.

Fate stepped in and made me choose another path. I was ready to try something new.

Or, like Master Yoda says, “Do. Or do not. There is no try.”

So, I decided to “do”. I wrote earlier how I submitted my writing to a publisher. I figured “why not?” The worst they can do is say no. It’s not like I haven’t been through rejection before. Even if nothing comes of it, at least I can say I did it.

I emailed off the first ten-thousand words of one of my finished books, held my breath, and waited.

When the email came back, I stared at it on my phone for a full five minutes before opening it. I couldn’t stand the thought of being rejected, even though I had prepared myself for the rejection. That didn’t mean I wanted to see it, in black and white, staring back at me. No one wants a rejection, even if you know it’s going to happen.

I opened the email.

They didn’t say no. They said yes.

The last month has been a whirlwind. I’m going slightly crazy with all the thoughts in my head, the possibilities, the opportunities. For the first time, people in my world, my “every-day-go-to-work-nine-to-five-act-normal world” know that I’m a writer. Once upon a time, only a few people knew I wrote. Not anyone I worked with. It had taken years to tell my family members I was a writer. There are still a few who don’t know. But all of that is changing. I can finally say it.

I’m a writer.