I think of myself as a writer, but it’s mostly because it’s the only job I’ve ever really wanted. Now that I’m officially paying taxes on royalties, it seems like I’ve earned the right to tell people that’s what I am. Really I’ve been a writer for a very long time, and I’m just admitting it now. It’s not like I’ve ever been embarrassed to say it, more like I’ve recently decided that I’m OK with whatever a person’s reaction happens to be. I don’t intentionally try to make people feel uncomfortable, but sometimes I can see it on a person’s face as they struggle to think of a reply. Sometimes it feels like they pity my delusion or they instantly feel guilty. They realize they’re going to have to tell me they’ve never heard of me or read anything I’ve written. I could say the same thing to writers who are A LOT more famous than I am, so I don’t mind. If you want to tell me that my fiction doesn’t appeal to you, no problem. Maybe someday I’ll write something that does.
Writing, especially genre fiction like I write, used to carry a far greater stigma than it does today. With the popularity of science fiction, fantasy, and horror movies, most people realize that they’ve already enjoyed something similar to what I write. In fact, most of them know that a fair number of cinematic goodies have been adapted from books. I’ve found much more support in my writing endeavors than I originally thought I would. So far nobody has told me any of the things I used to hear when I was writing as a teen, labeling it as something for kids or something to do when I retire from my day job. Much deserved thanks go to everybody who has realized that it’s a labor of love, like lots of other things, and requires a tremendous amount of time and effort.
Probably the best thing about calling myself a writer is that nobody asks me to fix their computer. Any time I’ve ever said that I work in technical support, I’ve cringed inside with an unparalleled intensity. I like helping people when I can, but most people these days are savvy enough to figure out technical problems themselves, with a little help from Google. If they’re willing to ask somebody they’ve just met for help, they have encountered something scarier than I’ve ever written about. When I’ve said that I write, nobody has ever asked me to compose them a poem or tell them a story. It’s kind of disappointing, really, because I’m much better at that than I am at fixing computers. My advice on a flaky PC is usually: “Have you had your kid try to fix it?” My kid charges $50 per hour, and I’m glad to pay it. When he gets older, I’ll get to tell him he should’ve saved it all up to buy his own car, but I’ll rent mine to him for $55 per hour.
Seriously the best thing about telling people I’m a writer is that it’s true. I’m proud of myself for persevering after the times I’ve thought about giving up. There’s no better feeling than struggling to accomplish something and then achieving it. Then you get to set bigger goals for yourself, fail, and try again. Whatever it is you’re dreaming of doing, keep struggling and tell other people about it. Better yet, write about it on the Internet, so everybody can remind you about it if you give up. (That’s partially why I started this blog.) You deserve to be admired for your hard work. You may be surprised at how encouraging other people can be when they see your determination, and it will help power your escalator upward.