Skip to main content

In Which the Writer Fills Out a Form

I've been writing for years.  Even if I only count the years of "this is getting sorta serious, aiming for publication," it's been a long time.  In that time--about a decade--I never identified myself publicly as a writer.

I thought of myself that way--if I had to pick a few words that make up my personal self-portrait, "writer" would be one of them.  But I didn't introduce myself that way to other people, or talk about it on Facebook or in those polite small-talk conversations at parties. Some close friends knew that I wrote steadily; a few knew where I was in the long, circling road to publication.  I suppose, if you cornered me, I didn't feel like I'd earned that moniker--I hadn't sold a book, I couldn't claim it as a profession, I wasn't "really" a writer in a way that the world at large would understand.

Which is fine--this isn't one of those empowering posts about owning who you are and claiming the name "Writer" for yourself.  You do it when you're ready and when you think it's right.

Except now...I *have* to start owning it, and seriously, it's awkward.

I have to fill out forms and decide if I put "author" in the "occupation" slot.  (Right now I feel like I should write "lactating" in the occupation slot, but that's another story.)

When I meet new people, I have to decide if I answer "I'm a novelist" when they ask what my profession is.  (Ever notice how that's usually the first question, unless you happen to be somewhere where it's pretty self-explanatory, like a conference or a stay-at-home-moms play group and even then, it's "What do you specialize in?" or "What did you do in your BK (Before Kids) era?"

Even insurance--my husband was getting a new quote that included liability, and was asked if either of us was a "public figure."  He did the cover-the-phone-stage-whisper "Do you count?" (I don't count.  But I've never had to consider that question before.  Or the ramifications of that question...I just want to write books, but being marginally successful doing so means a certain level of Being Known, albeit in a small circle.  Still, strange.)

The first person I (sort of) confidently answered "I'm a writer" was my midwife, and the response--genuine interest, questions about the work as though it was any other occupation--was reassuring.  This thing which had become a huge part of my life but stayed almost completely private fits into the outside world.

I want to be clear--I'm incredibly excited to be publishing my work.  I'm more grateful for this opportunity than you can imagine--but it also means some transition in how I think about writing and how that part of my life interacts with the world.

And crossing out my answers on forms a lot.


Popular posts from this blog

In Which I Finally Get to Say: Orbit is Publishing My Book!

I realize I’ve been a little quiet around here recently.  Moms of toddlers will tell you that it’s when things get quiet in their houses that they know *something* is happening.  With toddlers, silent happenings are usually not a good thing.  In writing? They can be a really awesome thing.
Long story short (when does that ever happen writing novels?): I’m incredibly excited to announce that Orbit will be publishing my novel Torn in spring of 2018—and even more exciting, we’ll be publishing a trilogy! The story follows a seamstress who can embed good luck charms into her creations--and becomes entangled in a revolution.
Obligatory Publisher's Marketplace screenshot--because this little blurb means this is super-duper, 100%, don't bother pinching me official!

Long story less short: Want to have the most exciting day of your career and then sit on the news for months? Then writing and publishing books is for you!  This has been in the works for a while, and though I’ve known for…

New Year! New Goals!

It hit me as we toasted with pink bubbly and shared the highlight reel of 2017 around my friend's dining room table--this is the year my debut novel comes out.  WHAT.  For all of 2017's faults--and I don't mean to downplay them, especially for anyone who really struggled this year--it brought a lot of very positive change for me and my family.  An interstate move brought my husband a job he can excel at and took us closer to family and my "ancestral homestead" where we plan to build a house.  We had a baby, and we're all smitten with our second daughter. 
And I sold my debut novel (plus two sequels). 
This is all good stuff--really good stuff!--but as I told a friend at the end of summer, my life felt a little bit like the new car I was driving (yeah, had to buy a new vehicle, too--the newness of 2017 just didn't let up). It was nice, it was better, even, that what I'd had before, and I liked it a lot, but it didn't really feel like mine.  2017 wa…