I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately.
Yes, I have a completed first draft, which I’m due to begin editing, like, yesterday. And yes, I’m working (albeit slowly) on the first draft of the second book in the series. But progress has been slow on both—a stark contrast to the month of July, where I felt like I was a writing superstar, not just churning out more words, but also better work.
I think it’s that I don’t feel like a real writer all the time. And that’s a problem.
Of course someone who doesn’t feel that much like a real writer is content to curl up in bed, reading books by other writers. Or watching baseball games. Or sleeping. I feel like a legitimate baseball fan, and I'm most definitely an experienced sleeper. I’ve earned my cred in those areas. But when it comes to being a writer, I have to convince myself of my cred, and it’s disconcerting.
Too often I focus on what I don’t have: a publishing contract, an agent, a ton of industry contacts, etc. I focus on the things that keep me from writing, like the day job, baseball season, feeling exhausted, not always being in the right frame of mind.
I forget to focus on what I do have. I do have a completed first draft. I do have a fully realized plot and characters, and a mapped-out 7-book series. I have a website I’m happy with. I have an author platform, and am learning more about social media—and how it can benefit me—every day. I have people in my life who cheer me on. I have talent and determination. And I have a plan—for revising, for editing, for querying, for networking, for getting published.
That’s a lot more than other people have. Comparatively, I’m probably ahead of many others who share dreams similar to mine.
I need to remember that. I need to focus on comparing myself to who I was months ago, weeks ago, even yesterday, and improving that person—not comparing myself to other writers. I have to go at my own pace. I have to move forward with networking and interviewing and researching, keeping in mind that I am a writer. If nothing else, I’m a writer of a first draft, and I owe it to myself to remind myself that I’m a writer so I can take on the necessary tasks to bring this from first draft to final draft, thus further legitimizing that whole “I’m a writer” thing.
It’s okay if I’m a novice writer. An amateur writer. A budding author. All of those things are true. And so is the fact that I am a writer…and I deserve to treat myself, and think of myself, as such.