You are a Rockstar!
Yes, you. That’s right. Getting that first published print book under your belt gives you credibility and recognition. Of course (and let me be completely frank here) if your writing is dung, the notoriety you experience will certainly diminish your credibility. But assuming your worst enemy is forced to reluctantly admit that you write well, the label of “author” elevates you to the status of The Artist Formerly Known as Prince. Or maybe I should say the artist formerly known as The Artist Formerly Known as Prince. (Because in the end, after changing his name to a “symbol,” he embraced a pronounceable appellation once again.)
But enough about Prince; this is about YOU, An Author. There is an air of importance surrounding the title of author, and therefore it is incumbent upon you to establish credibility, believability, and trustworthiness. Lest you become a “one hit wonder,” a flash in the pan, a disappointment to your granny, and die an ignominious death with nothing but an empty roller ball pen as your tombstone, it’s imperative that you bring veracity to your writing. Become an expert fact-checker. Do proper research. List your resources. Give credit where it’s due. As Mark Twain said, “Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.”
You are a rebel.
An author is automatically a little bit of a rebel. You persisted in writing, taking online courses, rewriting, and submitting manuscripts while in the background your dear, sweet mother-in-law could be heard shouting encouragement down into the basement, “Get out and get a real job!” But you were immune to her rantings because you adopted the perspective of Jane Austen who said, “I do not want people to be very agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them.”
You persisted. You believed in yourself. And eventually when you finally did “get a real job,” you spent nights and weekends pounding away at the keyboard, pouring your soul out onto digital paper. And now here you are; a published author. You didn’t get published because you were so dang charming, creative, and cute (and I’m sure you are. Your mom told me). (Not really.) You got published because you persevered and kept pursuing your dream. You wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. A rebel is willing to ignore the norms and go against the grain at times to achieve the prize, whether it takes them 20 days or 20 years. That’s quite inspirational.
You are a role model.
It doesn’t matter whether you want to be one or not. The fact is, your name is out there and you have become a public figure. Even if you never make the New York Times Best Seller list, you have a circle of people watching you (not in a creepy way, I hope). It could be your family, your in-laws, your out-laws, your students or business clients, or the spry octogenarians at the local senior living book club (motto: better to be over the hill than under it). Your book is a platform and the words you pen have the power to change lives, so carefully consider both the intended and unintended messages you give.
“A man’s character can be learned from the adjectives which he habitually uses in conversation”
~ Mark Twain
The writer’s life is nothing short of extraordinary, regardless of how dull it may appear on the outside. Consider the tortoise that hides in its shell. It’s not the most exciting pet; in fact, it’s rather unremarkable. But inside that earthen-colored shell is a living organism with multiple systems functioning perfectly in sync and all simultaneously. To the casual observer the creature is a curious oddity, but to a zoologist it’s a living wonder! (Did you know they can smell with their throats? The tortoise; not the zoologist. Although there are some smells that are so bad they kind of stick in your throat, but I’m not referring to that.)
Rockstar, rebel, role model; as an author you are all of those things and more. So live the dream. Be the dream. It’s your life and it’s meant to be amazing.
Photo courtesy Shutterstock, oneinchpunch