Advice, Author, Craft, Doubt, Fiction, Goals, Motivation, My Books, Novel, Tips, Writing

On being an accidental author

In case you tuned in late to this blog, maybe I should explain that I started it as a public journal of my adventures in writing. I often confess things a professional author should probably keep to herself. Lately, I’ve come to doubt my professionalism. Maybe I’m more an accidental author.

I stumbled into writing The Brevity of Roses for publication. It was inspired by a dream, written into a story for myself and a friend, and then kept growing. I joined a critique group for help. I read books and blogs and sites to learn how to write better.

For the two years I wrote, edited, and polished, I thought about little else than Brevity. What I didn’t do was think about myself as an author. I didn’t think about a writing career in any sense other than generally. I didn’t think about being where I am now.

In a sense, I feel like I’ve just awakened in a strange place, confused and … nekkid. What the heck have I done? I feel so exposed. Of course, it’s only my writing that’s exposed, but it’s hard to see that as separate from myself.

I can no longer pretend that my writing is this or that, that the story is something it’s not. Some days, that hits me hard and I want to hide my eyes and pretend you can’t see me. I think about closing this blog, my Twitter account, and my Facebook Page. On the worst of those days, I consider pulling my novel off the market.

Then, something else clicks in and I lecture myself. So you’re not quite the writer you want to be. Keep working at it. So you jumped in the deep end. Dog-paddle for all you’re worth. Whether you got here by accident or design, you’re an author. Suck it up and write—and keep writing until you reach your goal—and then you’ll continue writing because you’ll be the writer you always wanted to be.

Professional or not, I wanted to be honest about my journey. I hope none of you do or ever will feel like an accidental author, but if you do, remember you’re not alone. Just keep writing.

26 thoughts on “On being an accidental author”

  1. I think writing as an art form is like being an actor, singer or dancer that can reveal their vulnerability as part of their talent. Others are impressed, intrigued and sometimes in awe of someone so brave to bare their soul because the average person won’t do it but is drawn to those who do. I imagine being a published author is a vulnerable position to be in but one that many wish they were in as well. I think this vulnerability is a strength,


    1. No argument, EAF. In one sense, I did anticipate this vulnerability. Yet, I didn’t really understand how that would affect me. But, I’d like to think, as you said, “this vulnerability is a strength.”


  2. In what way do you feel that you were not prepared to be published? It seems to me, that it was something you considered for quite some time, weighing it all out. Is it that there are regrets? Buyers remorse?


    1. Obviously, I wrote a murky post, Jennifer. 😕 I had to ask myself if that’s because my thoughts and feelings are not clear. I don’t think so. Yes, of course, I had been querying agents for a while with publication as the end objective. And then I began to research and prepare for self-publishing. But even after all that, I was a little naive, a little stupid … or a lot. I thought I had more confidence in my writing than I do. Probably this recent crisis was spurred by reading Ray Bradbury’s Zen in the Art of Writing. He writes eloquently about writing, exuding such a strong confidence in his ability, which he seems to have had from the time he was a young man. He is a skilled pianist on a Bösendorfer, I’m someone who can pick out chopsticks on a toy piano. Maybe what seems like “remorse” is really only embarrassment.

      Thanks for the question. You made me think. 😉


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