Actually, that’s not entirely true. I had an ebook published in the early 2000s called How to Become an Event Planner. It was through a company, now long gone, called Dream Jobs to Go. It wasn’t a bestseller, but I sold enough to have to report the income. It’s probably not very good and it’s seriously out of date. But I can send you the PDF version if you’d like.
I was also published multiple times in Bearing Drift Magazine. I know that because I was the editor and graphic designer. That was in the mid to early days of blogging when we were actually generating some conversations and having an impact.
And, while the only copies are those out of someone’s printer, my play, while not available from Samuel French, Inc., is being produced.
But you can’t find any of my novels at your local Barnes and Noble, or on Amazon. Not even in the severely marked down section.
My novel, or novels as the case may be, are what will one day define me as a writer. Will they not?
I just finished reading Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, by Anne Lamott. You should recall that I’ve mentioned the book a time or two. One of her last chapters is about getting published and the agony that is for writers.
But here’s the example she used that, I think, will stick with me. She talked about the Jamaican bobsled team that was the subject of the movie Cool Runnings and what the coach told the team..
“The men on his team are desperate to win an Olympic medal, just as half the people in my classes are desperate to get published. But the coach says ‘If you’re not enough before the gold medal, you won’t be enough with it.’ You may want to tape this to the wall near your desk.”
So, that’s the thing. I’m not a writer because I have published books on The New York Times Bestseller list, or in the bargain bin at Walmart.
I’m a writer because that’s what I do. Daily.
Someday I hope to get at least one of these books published.
Or they may end up in a box that my boys find one day, next to the box that they label “why did Dad keep this crap?” Or, it may be the same box.
Being published doesn’t define me as a writer.
Or, to say it this way, I’m not a writer because I’m published. I’m a writer because I write.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not snarking at being published. But until that advance check comes in the mail, I’ll keep writing.