Being an author is more than just writing

Yesterday was a good day for me. I finished the first draft of Rite of Revelation. This one was a doozy to get out and much harder to write than the first book. But I know I've only just started. There is still editing, getting peer feedback and even more editing from the pros. And that's just the work that goes into the writing of the book.

This is me today
For many, that's the easy part. There are still marketing plans to nail down, reviews to solicit and press releases to write. And that goes for every author, not just the self publisher. While I can say from experience that most decent publishers do provide their authors with marketing support, the majority of the work is going to fall to the author.

Being an author is a career choice. It's not just sitting in a coffee shop or cabin in the woods pumping out words and sending them off to future fame and fortune. And that how every career works. NFL players love to play football. But they don't just show up every Monday, play a game, and go home. They put in countless hours on the practice field and in the gym. Many of them turn to other activities outside of football, such as dance and yoga, to help improve their performance. And they practice giving interviews and answer questions at press conferences. And they go out to team events and sign footballs, and talk to kids about sports and staying healthy. Lot of players take advantage of other opportunities such as making commercials or being part of a video game, because they know they can't play the game forever. They are football players, but the game only takes up a few hours of their time that is otherwise filled with activities off the field.

There are always going to be parts of a career that are less than fun. I did not enjoy filing my taxes this year. But we do things we don't want to do so we can keep doing the parts we love.

I hear from authors all the time. "I just want to write." And that's lovely. You should write. Write as much as you want for as long as you want. But to make this a career, like any other career, you have to do more than just write.

If the idea of doing anything but writing makes you want to weep, then (hard truth coming at you here) being an author may not be the right career path for you. That doesn't mean you have to stop writing, or even stop publishing. But it does mean you need to recognize that writing is going to be more of hobby than a career. Hobbies are done for fun and pure enjoyment. You can write and publish as a hobby, but understand the limitations of writing as a hobby versus a career.

Neither one of those are bad choices. I know people who just like to pick up a pen as a way to vent out creative energy. They have no desire to see their book published. It's just something they do for fun. And that is A-Okay.

But if you are serious about making writing your career, about hitting best-sellers lists, winning awards and living off your royalties, you have to do more than write.