Feeling like an author

Lots of writers and authors report that they don’t ‘feel’ like ‘proper’ writers and authors. Almost every author I have met has told me that they measure their success by their next project, and only then will they feel more like the real deal.

I enjoy the creative process very much, and several novels in, I have come to understand the emotional side of creativity, the buzz of planning, the involvement with characters, the building of chapters into a complete piece of work, evolving ideas and the feeling of grief when it’s finally finished. I also love the organisation and planning involved in non-fiction, and the building of innovative ideas involved in writing articles.

Does this make me feel like a writer and author? Yes. I have written something, so logically I know I am a writer! But don’t I write stuff all day at work, and write articles for journals?  Haven’t I had stories published in anthologies and in magazines? Haven’t I got a academic work, including chapters in other people’s books and my own book, published? I still question whether I am an author.

It’s easy to forget how much work you have done over the years. As an author, the validation often comes for other people’s reviews of your work, usually readers. Because publication isn’t guaranteed, and lot of writers and authors have ‘bread and butter’ jobs, or someone supporting them, the financial side of things may not be as pertinent and certainly not as regular. I firmly believe that everyone should get paid a fair amount for what they have done, but sometimes it doesn’t feel that way when you have spent weeks, months, even years working on something that there is no certainty will earn anything at all. With this, and the constant possibility of rejection, it’s easy to feel that you may be a writer, but the title ‘author’ is reserved for people who earn much more than I have from my writing.

I looked at my ALCS statement yesterday. ALCS is the Authors Licencing and Collection Service and they pay a royalty to authors for work copied or borrowed from libraries during the year. It is similar to PLR (Public Lending Rights). Maybe I don’t take my writing seriously enough because I have a brilliant day job, but My ALCS statement told me that I should, and, for the first time I felt like a ‘real’ author.
It’s worth registering for both ALCS and PLR. Who knows? There may be a small fortune waiting there for you.

(Graphic supplied by Sam Peters under Creative Commons)