“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”–Oscar Wilde
I’ve read a ton of arguments that go back and forth trying to describe similarities and distinct differences between “author” and “writer”.
It’s a fascinating conversation.
Does an author need to be poetic and flowery, overly descriptive, and long-winded, to tell a story? Can a good story be simple, and straight forward?
What constitutes a “good writer”?
Let’s toss in ghostwriting to the mix…
I wanted to add another category. This is probably common knowledge for some (especially the ones who have been doing this so much longer than I), but I stumbled across it on my own, and felt pretty darn good about myself.
If I include the small contribution to the anthology, and the 130 or so times I pressed the “publish” button on this site (averaging 1000 words per post), I can say with a high level of confidence that I could fall into the category of the stereotypical author. I wrote material, and it is published. People read, or have read my stuff. Not a ton of gray area. The provided data indicates readers and engagements. I see numbers and graphs. People do read… it’s a humbling experience to say the least. Super cool.
I write… everyday. Sometimes for hours. Sometimes I write… (shrug) decent…
Sometimes, I’m all over the place. The weekends and holidays? Forget about it. The outside world doesn’t exist. So, based on my frequent, daily writing engagements, I can say, by default, I could consider myself a writer. I also rely on editors to get me to the end. I depend on those who are better than I. I won’t have anyone edit my blog stuff, but yeah… I need industry professionals. No shame.
Meshing it all together: I’m an author, and a daily writer. A daily hobby writer, who evolved into an author, and an author who writes often. I have two books on the cusp of release, and a third ready for edits. Fourth is in rough draft. I’m a hybrid of both. I enjoy this life I chose to live.
At the end of the day, however…
… I want to be a storyteller.
That other category.
For me? That’s the dream. The end goal.
I also believe if one wants to “upgrade” from writer, to author, one has to be willing to undergo voluntary torture, and be ready to test the thickness of skin. A good editor will tell you what’s what. No sugar coating. They don’t mess around. Be prepared…
I can’t recall how many times I thanked my editor for beating the shit out of me. Willingly paying someone to punch you in the gut over and over again.
It’s one thing to build a race car in a garage and feel pretty good about the accomplishment. Taking it all in from a distance and saying, “ah, look what I did.” But, it takes courage to get it out on the track with the seasoned vehicles and push the gas pedal to the floor. Testing it’s limits. Hoping it doesn’t all fall apart into pieces.
I struggled with finding the courage and confidence to take the next step. I had a fleet of untested cars, just rusting in the garage.
Writing at home, hobby time, alone, scented candle, peace and quiet, strong coffee beside, light music playing, feeling good, getting all the thoughts down, and tidying up some details along the way. Safe. Content. Cozy. Relaxed.
Once deciding to move beyond hobby and take that next step toward author, you get the crap kicked out of you at the get go. No joke. No longer safe. It’s a level of vulnerability that takes some life adjustments.
Through that adjustment, however: the slapping around, the harsh critiques, the tough conversations, hard and honest criticism, numerous “killed darlings” varying edits, hacks and slashes and discarded material, allowed me to find my voice, and tell the story I wanted to tell.
The one I needed to tell.
The story I needed to tell just happens to be a hard PG-13. Riding the fine line of rated R.
I was telling a close friend, “If people like: adult content, adult situations, adult language, some smoking, some drug use, alcohol use, and sci-fi violence, with cool and unique characters, memorable moments, and a fast moving plot, this book might be right up your alley.”
If you have a story trapped inside, desperate to explode onto paper… don’t worry about the end game, at the beginning. Tell the story first, to the best of your ability. It’s a journey. Keep that story moving forward. One word leading to the next. Make your reader want to keep going. Force them to turn the page. Don’t let up on them for a second. They want to be sucked into your universe. Bring them in quickly, and never let go.
I decided to go the route of adult science fiction.
And I’m quite content with the way it all turned out. I’ll continue to post updates. I have to get back to work.
Thank you for reading and joining me on my journey. Please subscribe in the provided area to receive a notification of new posts by email or feel free to follow me on Twitter @jeremymorang, or follow along at my Facebook page to read up on a character’s journal entries. Please give this a like if you like it, share with others, or leave a comment if you wish. See you at the next one.