Five Things I've Learned
Since Becoming an Author
1. Being A Reader Is Much More Complicated Now
Remember when you could go to the store, pick up a book, read it, and review it – and say whatever you like and rate it whatever you like – online via Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes & Noble, etc.? Yes. You can still do this as a writer, but you also can’t. It’s complicated. As complicated as picking the next book you want to read. As complicated as Facebook’s “It’s complicated” relationship status. (I wish Goodreads had a status update like this.) In fact, many reviewing websites are now removing authors’ reviews due to a “conflict of interest” and other reasons. Don’t fret. This “conflict of interest” is a synonym of “you two love the same activities”. That being said, don’t give up! You love reading, and if you love reviewing, keep doing it. Don’t let the few bad stories scare you out of participating on your favorite websites. I definitely still review books on Goodreads.
2. You Will Be Judged For Grammatical Errors
Of course you will be. I think every writer knows that. But I don’t think writers are aware of the extent this will become a daily war. A Facebook status. An email. A text to a close friend. You will never be able to make a mistake again in your life. You’re not human anymore. You are an author. It doesn’t matter if the person correcting you made a mistake in the message they sent you explaining your grammatical error. They aren’t authors. They can make mistakes—even while telling you how you can’t. Ever. The only way to be forgiven is by making a sacrifice to the book gods, and no one is quite positive on what to sacrifice yet.
3. You Are Equivalent To A Genie – You Must Be Everywhere
Blogging, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Goodreads, Shelfari, Instagram, YouTube, and…you know what? Can you just turn into the Internet? But when you turn into the Internet, you still have to appear in public and go to book signings. And keep writing books while doing this. One every four months would be great. #youcandoit
4. One Year in Writing Time = One Day in Reading Time
Your book will be published, and your readers will finish it…quickly…very quickly. And (hopefully) they’ll want another one, and you’ll be elated…until you realize you haven’t finished another yet…and they want one NOW. Panic will ensue. Take a couple breaths. They know it can’t happen tomorrow. It’s a compliment. An energetic compliment. Just remember to breathe. You’re doing a fantastic job!
5. Despite Every “Bad” Moment, You Will Love Being An Author
With every bad or terrifying or disheartening or discouraging or saddening or maddening moment, you will find another loving moment to discount the panic. You will remember your love for writing, and you will fall in love with your readers. You will have days and weeks and years of absolute delight that will outweigh the confusion and heartache. Readers will lift you up, and your words will continue on, and each book will get better—whether you’re reading or writing one—and each word will deepen the love you have for your career. Keep moving forward. Keep writing. And keep those pens high.
As a novelist, poet, and blogger, Thompson spends her free time writing and sharing ideas with her black cat named after her favorite actor, Humphrey Bogart. Between writing and befriending cats, she graduated from the University of Kansas with a bachelor’s degree in English, and she travels whenever the road calls her.
Visit her blog for writers and readers at www.ShannonAThompson.com