I still lead with librarian. You know the drill; when you meet someone new and invariably after names are traded, the next question is “What do you do?” To answer that question I say, “I’m a librarian.” I usually stumble over the word “librarian”, so it sounds like “Li—Librarian.” I wonder sometimes if this gives the person I’m talking to the impression that I’m ashamed of my other profession, which I most certainly am not. The reason I stumble over the word is because I oh-so-desperately want to say, “I’m a writer,” but I can’t quite bring myself to utter the words.
Sure as the conversation proceeds, I usually get my writing in there somewhere. Like any other writer, I know to sell, sell, sell, you must first promote, promote, promote, but I can’t seem to lead with it.
In the past when I have said I’m a writer, I would get the usual questions about what I have published. I would mumble something about a short story or two and book reviews published in a library journal. For some reason, I didn’t think these publications earned the title.
This must go back to my dad. Dad, who I love and miss every day, didn’t put much stock in talk without follow through. If you said you were going to do something, you did it and preferably did it “decently and in order.” When I was a teenager, I said that I was going to be a vegetarian. He said, “prove it,” so I did. When I was eleven, I said that I wanted to be an author. He said “prove it,” and so I tried and essentially dedicated the rest of my life to the pursuit. It took a little longer than the vegetarian thing to prove—to stop ordering hamburger is really not that challenging in comparison to convincing a publisher to buy your work—but in the end, I did it. Most importantly, he knew.
To be a writer, publication is not a requirement. There are many very talented writers who may never be published and may not even have publication as a goal. I’ve met other writers with no bylines to their names who can say with certainty that they are authors or writers. How I envy them. They are able to make the statement with so much conviction that they ward off any cross examination. I hope these writers keep saying it because if they can say it, maybe I can too.
Now, I wonder if when I have my novel (Maid of Murder to be released by Five Star Mystery June 2010—just a friendly reminder) in my hot little hand if I’ll be able to say “writer” without stuttering.
Ultimately, I’m not sure when I’ll be ready to lead with writer, but when the day comes I’ll be sure to let you know.