How to: Own Your “Writer/Author” Title

Last month, I went to a friend’s housewarming party and met a new friend. The mutual party introduced us, saying “Liz is a writer.” And you know what I did?

I blushed and waved it off – because it still doesn’t sound real.

At my husband’s gig the other week, I brought a copy of WITCH HEARTS to a friend, as she’d enjoyed GIFTED and this seemed up her alley. Her daughter saw my book and exclaimed how cool it was that I wrote fiction novels.

I did that super awkward babbling thing I do and miraculously changed the subject. Why?

Because my friends are so in awe of this writer title that it makes me nervous.

face

The Face.

THIS is the face I make when people start asking questions about my writer title. The awkward, slightly nervous, deer in headlights, “someone please bail me outta this before I make an ass of myself” face. Where I start every sentence with, “Uhhhh, well, if you’re interested in that sort of thing…” —>

You’ve been there, I know it. In that spot where the title feels a little odd, maybe too big for you even though you fully plan to fit into it after some experience. Isn’t it funny to think of how readers grow to love our work – we know everything about our books, worlds, and characters and they are all dear to our hearts – so doesn’t it make you ecstatic when a bunch of people give you nice reviews or comment on your status about new releases or just tell you how much they love a character?

I’ve been in the writing game since the middle school newspaper, where I went from reporter to editor in chief; yearbook articles, my college newspaper (I totally rocked a piece about Longwood’s secret society!); women’s magazines, online blog articles, and for two publishing companies, the current of which I write for both print and online. And now I’ve self published two books, a third in the near future, and plans for more.

Yet I still avoid calling myself a writer.Β I pray they don’t take me seriously. Why? Because if you haven’t “made it” then it doesn’t count? That friends are only being nice or family has to be supportive? Or is it because I worry people won’t think it’s real work because it’s simply fluffy fantasy stories? Because it’s not going to win any Pulitzer prizes or entice literary lovers?

You know what? Stop thinking that way. Get your head outta your ass, Long, and take pride in what you do.Β I haven’t bribed anyone, much less 100 different people for positive reviews of my books. They did that all on their own! What I do have control over is getting better with each book and being proud of the hard work we accomplish. It’s not everyone who can say they’ll write a book and finish a novel, you know? That in itself is a pretty awesome thing.

Maybe we need to finally own up to the title. Writers, this is your wake up call – and mine, too. Let’s have more confidence in ourselves and our work,Β because hell’s bells, obviously someone likes the stories!

19 thoughts on “How to: Own Your “Writer/Author” Title

  1. Sarah PB says:

    Brilliant – I really need to get my head out of my ass so I will follow Liz’s advice – love the Deer Face photo, everyone has one of them I think πŸ˜‰ Retweeted too.

  2. stephenedger says:

    Liz, this post really struck a chord with me. I’ve written 6 novels yet rarely feel comfortable with talking about it as I imagine those I speak to will be secretly thinking of me as a ‘pretend writer’ as I don’t have a publishing company backing me.
    You’re right, of course, we should be proud of our achievements!

    • LizLong says:

      Thank you for reading and I’m so glad I’m not alone! I just keep telling myself we have to be proud of what we do – someone out there (that’s not friend or family) enjoys our books! That alone should be an achievement πŸ™‚

  3. eviejordan says:

    Fantastic post Liz. And I love the photo! You are most certainly a writer. And the reviews suggest not only are you an author, but a good one too! Keep up the good work!

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