SANDY WRITES

The conversation went like this: “When I was pretending to be an author today…” and I told the story. My much-loved friend, always brutally honest and tactless, rolled her eyes. “Give it a rest, Sandy, it’s getting bit tired. You are an author. You’ve had lots of books published and you’ve got that award sticker thingy.”

I’ve been thinking about her comment a lot because she’s often right. And I think she is again. Why don’t I feel like an author? Why do I hide behind throw away lines like ‘when I was masquerading as an author.. “? I have seven trade and education books published, another one due out in 6 months, two more contracted and four more accepted. And yes, I have a CBCA shortlisting sticker. So what’s my identity crisis all about?

Finding your author identity is a tricky business and one I’ve often heard my yet-to-be-published and newly-published friends talk about. For me it all began when I first realised I was an aspiring author. I never had a problem with the ‘wannabe author’ tag as I always knew ‘you have to wannabe if you’re gonnabe’ And this became my mantra of sorts. But what was I? I wanted to be something that said I was professional about wanting to be an author. I was attending courses, workshopping and writing lots. But when I was at these seminars and conferences with the real authors, who was I?

Another friend, a much published author, helped me out. “You are a writer,” she said. “A writer is a word craftsman who just hasn’t been published yet.” I doubt it’s an official dictionary definition *grin* but it worked for me. I was a writer.

Then one day the call came. Walker Books Australia wanted to publish White Crane. In the two years between that call and publication I had lots of time to get used to my authorly skin. But I never did. And all of a sudden I was published with as my friend pointed out – books and a sticker. I think my problem was it all happened so fast. It’s been less than 18 months since that first novel was published. I call myself the Cinderella author because it seems like someone has waved a wand over me. I joke and say I hope I don’t turn back into a pumpkin in the middle of a school visit. But in truth, it does feel surreal.

And then there’s this other problem – whenever I pick one of my books off the shelf – it doesn’t read like a real author wrote it – it reads like I did.

It’s been a month since that conversation and a transformation has been happening. I’m beginning to accept that I am an author. That the dream did come true. I’ve been doing a lot of school visits lately and that’s helped me put it all into perspective because – when I stand in front of the class – I really do feel 100% author.

[Footnote: I picked the picture to load for this post from the White Crane launch files and then noticed what I had labelled it at the time: ‘Author Impersonator’ Ha! Karma.]

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3 responses to “SANDY WRITES”

  1. Robin Gaphni says:

    Great post, Sandy. One I can certainly identify with. I always seem to stumble a bit on the “I’m a writer, but not yet published.” Now that I blog I throw that in. But I think I just have to say “I’m a writer.” and leave it like that.

    By the way, congratulations on your “Cinderella story,” which as we all know didn’t happen over night, but involved a lot of hard work! You ARE an author.

  2. Sandy, this post made me smile – not that I was laughing at you, but laughing at myself a bit I suppose! SO many writers say they experience this exact thing. It must be something about this industry – pursuing a creative career. We all feel like frauds, hiding amongst the ‘real’ writers and hoping we’re not found out 🙂

    I love your Cinderella story – it gives me much hope!

    Katherine

  3. It’s about time you worked it out. We’ve all known for ages.

    Oh! And can you ask your fairy godmother to wave her wand this way – a bit…

    🙂

    Jeff

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