Sunday 19 February 2012

Writer vs Author

I am a writer.  That means I like to write and do it on a semi-regular basis.  What I want is to be an author, which is where someone pays you to write.

I was reading an article which said that every writer deserved to be paid for their work.  Semantics aside, to me, that is the key point which distinguishes between a good writer and a bad one.  Not every writer deserves to be paid.  The bad poetry and stilted stories out there have all been written by writers.  Just not good ones. 
If you love to write and want to share, then I encourage you to do so.  Put it online, pass it around to family and friends, however you want to do it.  That’s the easy way.

If you want to be an author, then you have to do a lot more work.  Not only do you have to write something other people want to read, but it has to be something other people are willing to pay to read.  That means doing serious thinking about plot, structure and character.  It means revising and revising again.  And again.  It means sending your brave little creation off to strangers who are going to rip it apart.  And then you put it back together again, making it better.  And then, you might be ready to send it to a publisher or agent.

It’s not all tapping at the keyboard and having brilliant dialogue and characters dance at your fingertips.  It’s a lot of hard work.  How much, I’m only just discovering.

But you know what?  I’m really enjoying watching my story get better.  It was good before but now it’s getting polished and faceted.  If I’ve done it right, it’s going to sparkle and shine, drawing people into a world I created.  Hopefully they’ll have a good time and want to come back.

At the brunch, one of the writers talked about how no one can say no to you.  If traditional publishing doesn’t work, you can self-publish and still put your story out there.  So, I suppose people can say no, they just can’t stop you.  But even with self-publishing, I think it’s important to go through the steps of polishing the work.

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