day five: repeat after me, I AM AN AUTHOR

author |ˈôTHər(abbr.: auth.
a writer of a book, article, or report

"Someone told me I had to have a publisher in order to be an author."

I was talking with a friend when she dropped this bombshell. My eyes widened. 

 "No. Lies," I sputtered. 

 "I know, it's just hard to take this seriously when there's no one waiting for me to finish this book except for myself..." 

We need to have a conversation about legitimacy.  

I've had similar things happen to me — well meaning people attempt to distinguish between the ranks of published and indie. And it doesn't just stretch to indie authors. After I released Come Alive with the publisher, someone mentioned me to family saying, "she's trying really hard to be a writer. You should buy her books." 

Again: these are well meaning people. You will have others who are just mean-spirited and cause you to question humanity in general. The doubt, though? The doubt comes with the questions and comments about "well you're not technically published though, right?" 

Are you on a platform for book distribution? Do you have your name on the cover of a book underneath the title? Have you typed the words THE END or pressed the last punctuation key stroke on a manuscript?

You're an author.

The title author does not only come with the approval of a publisher. Success doesn't equate to contracts and book deals and deadlines and other people saying you're awesome.

You get to decide, remember? 

Think of the moment you realized you wanted to write. You tried on the label writer to see how it felt. A little like alchemy, right? Magnetic. Earthy. Illuminating. Hopeful. Like the saints of Hemingway and Stein came during the night and blessed you with the ink of those who've gone before you. 

From that point on, it didn't matter what anyone said. You wrote. You spilled words and filled pages and day-dreamed about plot points and characters and poetry and every day epiphanies.

Before, there may have been people who told you that you could write or that you had a way with words, but in order for you to own it — in order for you to even wade deep enough you were considering writing a book — you had to whisper those words. 

I am a writer.

Have you written a book? Say it with me: I am an author. You can go quietly at first, I understand the fear of speaking too soon.

You need to know the truth, though. You need to own it and stand on it and speak it often because there will be those moments where you see the question in the eyes of others. 

Their doubt cannot change your certainty. 

Only you could have written the story you wrote. nly you can claim those hours spent pouring over your laptop or journal. Only you know what it feels like to finish the book you're been trying to complete for years (or weeks, months, days — whatever). 

So for those who are having difficulty with this title and believing it fits, here's what I want you to do. Remember your why? Take some time today to journal about it. Let the words wash over you completely. Until you see your worth as a writer, until you know this story is meant to be told and there are people who need to hear it, the name author won't ever really fit. 

I believe in you. You are worthy of being heard. Your stories are worthy of sharing. But you have to own it for the name to really stick. Practice writing it, first. Spill your thoughts on your fears and doubts and dreams surrounding your story. 

And then whisper until it sounds normal on your tongue: 

I am an author. I am an author. I am an author. 

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Posted on October 5, 2014 and filed under indie publishing, writing.