What am I? And, maybe more importantly. where am I headed? I frequently ask myself these questions.
It’s been almost a year since my book was published, so I guess that mean’s I’m an author. When I meet someone who asks me about myself, I still don’t find it easy to say, “I’m an author.” I’m not sure why that is.
Book marketing is an impossible, uncomfortable, self-promoting beast to me. I probably could think of a few more adjectives to convey my strong emotions on the subject. But an author doesn’t sell books without promoting those books.
Then there’s the word writer. As a published author, I’m certainly a writer.
One has to write in order to publish, right? That makes one a writer. Or maybe it doesn’t.
I can and will say I’m a listener. Now, don’t get me wrong. In the right circumstances I can talk someone’s ear off. Ask my husband or my kids. I can latch onto a topic I enjoy and just perseverate. But I can also listen. I’ve even taken workshops and grad courses on listening.
My “research” for Conversations About Autism: Real-Life Experiences of Struggle, Acceptance, and was just – listening.
I set a recorder on the table, asked people to tell their story, and they would talk for two hours. Several women told me the experience was therapeutic. Maybe I should have charged them!
So, it would seem that the answer to question, “Author, Writer, or Listener?” would be “All of the Above.”
Here’s the caveat. Full disclosure. I feel, deep inside, like I never really “wrote” a book. I listened to stories, personal and emotional stories, and I pulled pieces of these stories together by topic. I added my own words in the book introduction and the chapter introductions, in hopes of providing a little background information for people reading the book.
Conversations About Autism: Real-Life Experiences of Struggle, Acceptance, and Hope has a low percentage of words written by me.
Currently, I blog, rather sporadically. Once the opportunity to listen to stories came to an end, I missed that. Following autism blogs allows me to virtually listen to the stories of others. That seems to fill a need in me.
Thinking of what to write in blogs, using my own words, often creates writer’s block. It’s hard work. At some point, I read that search engines don’t direct people to blogs during searches until the blog has forty posts. It’s as though Google won’t take a blog seriously before that. (So I read.)
When my other life activities shut down in March, I decided I would work toward forty posts. I’ve been sitting at thirty-nine for two weeks now. I haven’t been able to make myself write the next post – this post. What does that tell you? What does that tell me? I’m not sure.
Maybe I’m not a writer. Maybe I don’t like writing/blogging. Why am I forcing myself to write if, in fact, I don’t like writing? What would I do with my time if I’m not writing? The voices in my head.
Before I pulled the trigger to publish my book, my husband said something to the effect that we would put out the money for self-publishing one book. He knows that I still have pages of unused quotes on topics like education, medical issues, youth programs, adult programs and transitions. These are mostly organized and ready to send to an editor if I decide to publish a second book. Recently, my husband asked if I am going to publish a second book!?!? I’m not even sure what to do with that!
Am I a writer? I haven’t figured that out yet, especially since it’s been so much work to create post number forty.
I wonder if other authors or writer’s go through this. Tell me please.