Thursday, May 16, 2013

L.I.T.E.R.A.L. #4: What Will Make You Truly Feel That You've Made It As A Writer?

Wow. A book. Does this make me a writer? Truly?
The Questions (from What will make you truly feel that you’ve made it as a writer? Seeing your byline? Holding the book in your hands? Seeing it climb up the charts? Your first book launch? What will finally get you to tell people that yes, you are a writer?

The Answers: 

All of the above are scenarios that have played in my head. Byline, check (articles in magazines), holding a book my hands, check (self-published two books). Seeing it climb up the charts, not checked (haven't written a bestseller...yet). My first book launch, check (I arranged for the book launch of my self-published books). And yet, I still feel unworthy of the title "writer" sometimes. Actually, the term is "published writer." I technically qualify as a published magazine writer. But because my two books were self-published *and* not bestsellers...I feel like I failed in the arena of "published book writer."

But of course, that type of negative self-talk doesn't help at all.

I'm reading a book on self-publishing right now called APE (Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur) by Guy Kawasaki. And I love the idea that he puts forth: the artisanal publisher. It's about a writer who deeply cares about the writing process that he/she takes care of the book from start to finish. Of course, I didn't heed his advice (I hadn't read the book yet) when I went ahead and self-edited. But it's a great lesson learned. Because of what I learned from APE, I made my two books absolutely FREE on, iBookstore and Nook. Who in heck knows Justine Camacho Tajonera? No one. And why should I expect people to read what I write, anyway? Let's face it: writing is about sharing something that means something to the audience reading it. So...if I would write, anyway, without getting paid...I should thank my lucky stars that I have a tool to actually reach an audience. That's why I gave away my books. I want to be read. That's all. go back to that question....What will make me truly feel that I've made it as a writer? That I've been read. A writer's lifeblood is to have shared something valuable to others. Truly...that's what it boils down to. At least for me. Will I make a living from it? Maybe not. But I dearly wish it would help pay the bills too. Did Emily Dickinson make a living out of her poetry? Heck no. But is she a writer? No one would debate this fact. Point made.

Writing is a passion that cannot be quenched. It's a blessing and a curse. If the muse has called, she cannot help but be answered. Otherwise, the one who heard the call would be tortured by eternal "what ifs." I love Elizabeth Gilbert's fascinating TED talk about the writing process. I love it so much, I'm embedding it below. I like the idea that writers are vessels. For a few moments we are lit up by genius, by the divine and we cannot help but share it. Let not the idea of individual glory fill our heads.


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