An Unpublished Writer is Still a Writer

Just because your work hasn’t been published yet doesn’t make you any less of a writer than those who are published.

We all have different paths to take. Some are short. Others are twisty and complicated. As always, I am taking the more challenging one. Now why would I want to make this easy?

I have written.

I Have Written

I could have been lying to you right from the start. You read my blog posts and maybe follow me on social media. I tell you I’m a writer. I state I’m writing. I share that I’ve written short stories and novels. You believe me. But there is no published book…yet.

Hold on to ‘yet’.

I am not a fraud. I have written and then some. Three novels. The first one was the usual spurt of all the pent-up stuff and making a mess kind of thing. The next two are part of a series.

I have written. Yet…

Nothing for you to read.

Does that mean I’m not a writer? No, of course not.

I am not jealously holding on to my work or too afraid to share it with the world. Okay, maybe a little scared but that goes with the territory, right?

My writing is a work both in situ and advancing. Which leads me nicely to…

Pursuing Traditional Publishing

When you decide to try to get your work traditionally published you can never be fully prepared for how slow the process is. This has been enlightening and sometimes excruciating for the World’s Most Impatient Woman ™.

Agents often take at least two months to reply, if they actually do.

Submitting to a group of them at a time is my method as I have learned that doing so means you can keep track and modify your submission package. No matter how many times I have honed my synopsis or cover letter, they are still tricky.

Waiting does not make me a non-writer. I am writing all the time: emails to agents and all the bits and pieces they require. It’s a special kind of writing where you have to read well too.

You do your research, learn about the agents, try to make the right fit, and give them what you decipher they are looking for.

One day the waiting will be over because of an acceptance or I will have exhausted the options. Either way I will still be a writer. I have written.

To Publish

When a work is published it is proof to your relatives and friends that you have been writing. They’ve seen you from the start when you started this writing gig.

Some may have rolled their eyes or found it charming. Some may have given you a patronising pat on the head. Others have been waiting expectantly to read your work.

I am a writer. I have written. I will publish.

It could be traditionally or self-published. At this point I would like you to know I DO NOT view self-publishing as an inferior or lesser option.

If I self-publish I will be proud of myself for working hard, as I know I will, to get my novel out there. Self-published writers are amazing.

I have my reasons for pursuing the traditional path. They are too numerous to mention here.

All I want is for you to be able to read my work, however that happens.

Beta readers have read my novel. Already I have an audience. I have written.

A Hobby

For those who never want to publish you’re still a writer. You have written.

Just because someone writes occasionally doesn’t mean they’re not an amazing writer.

You may be denying the world the beauty of your words but that’s your decision to make. Your words belong to you.

Never let anyone make you feel ashamed about writing for a hobby. You are still a writer and, to be honest, possibly a little less jaded than some who have published.

A Writer or an Author?

There appears to be a separation between writer and author. A writer writes. An author has published their writing.

I believe you are both before you’ve published. You have written and taken authority over your words and work. You are a writer and an author.

That said, it’s all just words to me. I am what I am (bet some of you sang a certain song along with that).

I have written. I have authored. I will publish. Just you watch me.

Over to You

Are you an unpublished writer? How do you feel about that?

Are you a published writer? Has it changed your view of your role as a writer? Did you start calling yourself an author when you published?

About Lisa Sell

Lisa Sell is a fiction writer. When she's not wrestling with words she can be found showing the love for chocolate, cheese, coffee, books, the cats, and the husband. Perhaps not in that order.

7 comments on “An Unpublished Writer is Still a Writer

  1. I’ve self-published three books, am working on the fourth, and as you know I’ve been doing the blogging thing for a while now too, yet I *still* feel weird calling myself a writer. I’m not sure when that bit’s going to sink in, although I believe the same as you — if you write, you’re a writer.

    Yeah, and “author” only seems to feel right when it’s filling in an “About the Author” section.

    Good luck in your querying! It is indeed a long slow process.

    1. You’re on fire with self-publishing at the moment. Please excuse the unintended dragon-related statement! I’ve admired how hard and how far you’ve come. Love the books too!

      1. Any dragon-related statement, whether intentional or not, is automatically excused. The world needs more of them!

        And thank you so much! That is so lovely of you — and I know I wouldn’t have come half so far without the amazing writing community, which includes your lovely self <3

  2. Are you a published writer?

    Yes – I’ve self-published three books to date and am publishing the fourth in summer, though “self-published” sounds as though I’m doing it all by myself. I’m writing by myself, but my publishing process involves several other wonderful people, such as my awesome editor.

    I never wanted to go the traditional route for a lot of reasons. What it boils down to is that traditional publishing just isn’t a good fit for me personally.

    Published is published, whatever way, and neither route is better than the other or inferior to the other.

    Has it changed your view of your role as a writer? No. Nothing has changed about how I view my role as a writer. I love the process, probably more than the result. That makes me sound totally weird, doesn’t it? But that’s me. I love the journeys my writing takes me on from the first words of the outline to the moment I see it online. I think I’m evolving as a writer, and that’s good, too. I’m learning every day, and I hope that’ll never stop because I love learning new things.

    Did you start calling yourself an author when you published?
    Yes. I suppose that’s how I defined it when I started sharing my work online, but it isn’t important what you call yourself, ultimately. It’s important to be happy with what you’re doing because life is short and time is precious, and that is all.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. It’s really helpful to hear from someone who has published.

      As always, your insights are spot on.

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