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.