I have to take a brief moment to bitch here (one of my many talents.) about the many people I know who call themselves writers. Not online, no. They actually write. They're fine. No, I'm referring to the many many people I know who say that they are a writer, until they are asked for their work in a friendly, "Hey, I love reading" sort of fashion.
I do write. Often enough that I have forgotten to fucking eat before. My husband has had to get out of bed, come down to our office and remind me that I only have four hours left before I have to be awake on multiple occasions. And I debate if I could get any more useful stuff in before bed because this is what I like to do. It's my passion, and I know, I'm not great at it. But it's what I strive to be and do. It is my opinion, that in order to call yourself a writer, you need to write. I don't use the "I'm a writer" tagline, and I've written four novels and ten short stories in the last five months. Two of which were not even painful to read. Sort of. Point is, I could. But I refuse to, because I don't feel that my work is high enough quality yet to insult actual novelists by trying to lasso myself in with them. I am getting sick of people who haven't written in the last two years, and never did anything with it, trying to impress others with their skill that they don't practice. I did ballet when I was far younger, but I don't go around prattling about how I am a ballerina. (if I ever do, shoot me until I cease to be alive, and then a few times just to ensure that my soul has gotten the point as well, because I've clearly lost my mind.)
My point is that in order to get better at something, you need to do it. Some people are born with the talent that means they will have a bestseller on their first try. Then there's the majority of the writing world, where people such as myself type keyboards into nonexistence. This is my fourth one this year, I beat the poor things to death. I said, I'm not great at writing. But you know what? I'm improving. Quickly. Every book that I write trumps the last, every short story and writing exercise that I play around with gets more fluid and entertaining. Because I put in the time.
I have a friend who tried to explain to someone else that "Well, writers are very eccentric." His basis for this when questioned was that he was a writer. I've known this man for awhile. He is not a writer. He wants to be, but doesn't want to put in any time to become a success, and can't take criticism at all. Much like a child, when you politely point out that something is so much as phrased poorly, he will quit that project, declare it too difficult, and return to ice cream and video games. The truly sad part? His work could've been fucking great. So many ideas, so much creativity and a great sense of humor, he could easily be a chart topper. Just not tomorrow, and apparently that's not good enough.
A writer writes every day. I didn't agree with that phrase when I first heard it, but it makes sense. I had given up on my writing for receiving some scathing criticism a few years back. I wasn't sure that it was what I wanted to do. The funny part is that the person who insinuated that I would need to try harder for a few more years before I could impress them; they were right. I just sent a copy of my recent novel to her, and I was given praise.
It's something that every writer does when they're starting out, trying to convince whoever is reading their work that they like it. To find out if you're getting to be a good writer, all you need to do is put your work out there, and people will let you know. No disclaimers or excuses. One way, or the other, they will tell you, even if you don't expect it. And the good news? You can always improve if you don't like what you see.
I think that everyone should write. It's a good skill to have, and furthermore,I find it extremely relaxing. Granted, anyone that knows me personally can understand better why the thought of relaxation has me throwing myself at the keyboard like a whore on a rich man.
But here's the thing - You are not a writer unless you are:
1) WRITING. You would be surprised how many people miss this critical step. Not "I've written in the last decade." More like, "I wrote a few paragraphs this month." Yes, even that would suffice. Because eventually, that piece would be completed.
2) Able to accept/tolerate criticism and opinions about your work without running for the nearest razor to slash your wrists. Because when you publish, there will be negative feedback. Count on it. Nobody gets only perfect scores. The Bible doesn't even get a unanimous thumbs up,you're hoping to trump that one if you expect a perfect 5 star rating from everyone. I'll believe it when I see it.
3) Showing your work to someone else. Published, unpublished, in an email, posted online or in a forum, on a napkin with grease stains, written in the sky by one of those old-timey skywriters. Something. It's a scary thing to do when you're just starting out, and it makes or breaks the desire to write for many people. But, it is a necessary thing to do to improve. If you wanted to be a cook, but nobody ever tasted your food, could you trust that it would be the best flavor that it possibly could be? Probably not. Opinions are terrifying and sadly, necessary.
Rant done -> MOVING ON.
Next book is going to be wolf shifters from the same little fantasy land that the rest came from, should be fun. Have an idea for a short series. The Wolves of Kureshna. I may be moving on to another genre after that one, but I'm undecided. We'll see how they do. My most amazing cover artist ever, has already started to do some thinking on how she wants to do the cover for the first, so hi5 and thumbs up for that, yaaaay!
Again, that's H. C. Fang -> http://bloodyvampire18.deviantart.com/
This is the only cover artist that I have ever enjoyed working with, I highly recommend her to anyone looking for an affordable and timely cover for their work.
Until next time.