Being a Writer for Halloween

31 Oct


For many of us, being a writer isn’t real. We do the work and we do the research and we put the time and effort in, but sometimes we feel more like we’re playing dress up.

I have a lot of friends in the arts world… more than just writers… and one thing has become abundantly clear to me: Being a writer has less easily defined… and it’s our own faults.

Let’s say you’re a painter (Note to sell, M’s open studio show is Saturday), you work on your craft, honing it until it’s ready for the spotlight and then you look for places to gig it (or whatever painters call it). Let’s say you can’t get in a studio or a show or a month run at the local coffee-house, what do you do? Maybe you vend it on the streets of Boston or ask a friend to host a party (went to one of these, brilliant) – but, whatever it is, you get out there.

How about musicians? Same deal. You get out there. Not only do you all get out there, but you get feedback. Instantly. YOU.ARE.AN.ARTIST.

Now, let’s say you’re a writer. You write a novel. You think it’s ready. You’ve worked your hiney off to get it where it needs to be for consumption…but no one’s buying. Where do you go? Stand on the corner and read your entire novel? Maybe not. A show? A house party? What?

Mostly no (ignoring that self-publishing thing)…and that leaves writers feeling… less? Not professional? Underrated? Something else and all of the above?

It leaves us often feeling like we’re not really a writer. We’re just, you know, writing. Or, it’s a hobby. Or we’ll be a real writer when we’re published. Or when we have a multi-book deal. Or when we can quit our day job… Or… Or… Or…

We feel like we’re wearing the Writer Halloween Costume allllll freaking year.

But here’s the thing about costumes: they’re hot and sometimes the start to smell (just like zombies…see Lauren, I knew I’d get it in here) – that’s your soul rotting.

Ok, not really.

But, there comes a time, just like for that kid on the subway playing for quarters, that you need to stand up and shed the “costume” and call yourself a writer. If you told him he wasn’t a musician, he’d probably give you the finger (gotta love those Berkley kids).

There is only one path to success… I don’t care what branch you take (traditional publishing, epublishing, self-publishing, whatever)… but that path it starts with one thing. It starts with being able to stand up and say, I’m a writer.  No one is going to do it for you. No one is ever going to sit you down and say, “Ok, it’s time to start claiming this.”

You’re going to have to take that claiming step on your own.

And so today, while everyone else is dressing up as their fantasy or dream, you take the costume off and live yours.


2 Responses to “Being a Writer for Halloween”

  1. abby mumford October 31, 2011 at 10:53 am #

    *clears throat* i’m a writer.

    suddenly, i feel naked.

  2. briaq October 31, 2011 at 10:59 am #

    DUDE! You look naked! *hands a robe* 😉

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