Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Own Your Writing!

If you don't introduce yourself as a writer, who's going to do it for you, if you're not Kim Harrison or Anne Rice?  No one!  I came to this realization while stranded at the Atlanta airport in December during a bad snowstorm.  I was hungry, frustrated after the whole T.S.A. experience, and sore from lugging around my appropriately named "luggage".  I went in search of sustenance hoping for a food genie, but instead, I got stuck in a long line of disgruntled travelers all waiting for a table at the only restaurant with seating. 

Fortunately, the lady in line in front of me did not have a fear of strangers and was kind enough to let me share her table.  After we ordered, we found ourselves making the proverbial chitchat and that question reared its ugly head -- the question I always dreaded answering:  What do you do?  Now, I've always hated this question because the reality is that I am a small press author in a big press world trying to get my next break and an agent, but at the same time I am also a housewife/crazy pet zookeeper.  While aspiring to be the next female Stephen King, my dilemma is which option to share with strangers I will probably never see again, unless, I meet them at a future book signing.

That fateful day I chose option one.  I decided there was no time like the present -- being stranded in an airport with a complete stranger, to take charge of my dream job and own it!  So I did!  I told her I was a writer.  I could tell she was skeptical, until I started giving her all the gory details of my submissions in progress, my publications, my web site address, and all that jazz.  By the end of the conversation she seemed curious to verify my tale, and I was hoping she'd look me up on the net and there'd be another sale in it for me.  If not, at least I wasn't hungry any more.

My point in sharing this story with you, is that you have to own your writing.  Nobody is going to think of you as a writer, if you don't think of yourself as one first.  So the next time you are at a party and someone asks you what you do for a living, take the opportunity to do a little free advertising for your budding career.  You never know where it may take you.  Fat little angel dudes may not start serenading you accordingly while everyone rushes to offer you the last cheese pastry, but at least you will have gained a sense of pride.  And that's worth it all right there!

As always, happy writing and happy reading to all!