No April Fools–today is Insecure Writer’s Support Group day AND the start of the A to Z Challenge!

How many blog hops can you fit in one post? Since Insecure Writer’s Support Group is supporting the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, I’m going to put my contributions in the same post today. Whichever one you came for, hello and welcome!

First up, if you’re here for the insecurity:

IWSG badgeThis post is part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group blog hop. The first Wednesday of every month is Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. The awesome co-hosts for the April 1 posting of the IWSG will be Suzanne Furness, Tonja Drecker, Toi Thomas, Rachna Chhabria, Fundy Blue, and Donna Hole!

One thing I’m super good at is overwhelming myself. I tend to give myself too many projects at one time, anxious that if I don’t produce, produce, produce, my writing future will go up in flames before my eyes. I must write more! I must have more submissions out! I must get more published! More, more, more! This is of course a little bit sensible, since I want to make writing a career, and if I actually want to pay the bills with writing I’m going to have to produce a steady stream of it. But running around frantic piling on projects is going to hurt me in the long run, I’m sure. I’ll either burn out, or produce sub-par work because I’m doing too much, or drive myself into complete insanity and end up hating my chosen career. I don’t want any of that.

It’s a terrible habit, and I’m working on it. The problem with success is when you get a success, you want more of them. And if I have x amount of things published this year, I feel pressure to have at least that many–but hopefully more–next year. When do I reach the limit? What amount of publications in one year is enough? How many will help me maintain a career? These questions make me gnaw on my nails. They keep me awake at night.

Right now I’ve made the decision to stay with three publishing houses that I currently have things published with, and whom I very much enjoy working with and feel supported by. Two are smaller presses and one is a major New York publisher, which will of course be where the focus of my ‘career’ writing goes (aka the one that will make me the most money). I have a tendency to want to write for and sample every small press I come across, but I need to focus now. I need to whittle down my projects to the ones that really boost my career. Work smarter, not harder!

Have any of you guys driven yourself mad trying to be productive? Any other multi-taskers out there like me?

white-divider-hi

Or, if you’re here for the challenge:

This post is part of the Blogging from A to Z challenge–blogging every day in the month of April (except Sundays!) with each letter of the alphabet.

On the first day of this challenge, I want to introduce myself. I am an author. I call myself an author, anyway. Is there a difference between an author and a writer? Some would say an author is published (which I am) while a writer is still trying to get there (which I was for many years). I don’t feel that way, but people rarely say ‘the writer of that book’ instead of ‘the author of that book.’ Wikipedia says: An author is broadly defined as “the person who originated or gave existence to anything” and whose authorship determines responsibility for what was created. Narrowly defined, an author is the originator of any written work and can also be described as a writer. So there you have it, they’re pretty much the same thing.

I’ve been an author, or writer, for much of my life. I’m nearly forty now and I started writing, with intention, when I was thirteen. Only in the past year or so have I really made a big break as far as publications go, and funny enough, only in that time period have I been really comfortable with calling myself an ‘author.’ I’ve always wanted to write. I feel like it’s the default setting I was born with, wanting to tell stories. Maybe it’s a certain kind of mania. Authors, or writers, tend to live in their head a lot. It’s funny how most of the entertainment in the world–books, TV shows, movies, even music–is just the wild imaginings of storytellers, merely the fantasies that come out of one person’s head instead of staying hidden. There’s a magic in how those things come out, but even more magic in the fact that other people want to consume it, and enjoy it.

Author is how I define myself, but I’m also a writer, because I write. How about you, do you call yourself an author, writer, or both? Do you think there’s a difference? Even if you found your way here and you’re not an author or writer, do you see those terms as different things? Are there achievements that you feel have to be attached to either title?

42 comments

  1. Hey! No fair stealing my post idea! 😉 I think you’re an author as soon as you’ve written/created something, so we’re both authors because we created posts. 🙂 And other stuff too.

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  2. It’s so easy to get sucked into that ‘have to get done’ drive. And of course, that’s when life piles everything else on too. I have to force myself to sit back and realize what’s important and what’s maybe not quite as much so. The super power to get everything done immediately and at the same time would be awesome…but doesn’t exist. Good luck!

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  3. Call yourself whatever you like. I’m a writer because I write. That’s how I respond when asked what I do. That inevitably leads to being asked are you published. I love saying, yes I am. 🙂 Good luck with setting priorities so you don’t feel so overwhelmed.

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  4. I consider myself both. A writer is someone who writes. An author is someone who is published and has at least a toe in the business side of writing and publishing. Whether you’re with one of the big 5, or you self published on CreateSpace, there is still an element of business that goes along with having published something.
    That’s my opinion anyway. 🙂

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  5. I am not published to know if I am even suppose to be an author… I am afraid people wouldn’t me or my words. So I can say I am, maybe I am… Great start, all the luck on all the letters!

    Welcome in the “A”… as a host I am stopping by to say thank you!
    Jeremy [Retro]
    AtoZ Challenge Co-Host [2015]

    There’s no earthly way of knowing.
    Which direction we are going!

    HOLLYWOOD NUTS!
    Come Visit: You know you want to know if me or Hollywood… is Nuts?

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  6. You’re so right, Megan. Our projects do tend to pile up, as we want more: more books published, more articles written, more ideas for our stories. Sometimes I think: will it ever end? Will I finally finish all I started. But then I think, when I do, it will be time to stop, right? I’m not ready to stop yet. Let’s celebrate our unending pile of projects. It means we are still alive, still writing.

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    1. What wonderful advice! I love the work I do and I’d be lost without it. I’ll try to be more grateful for the work I have–it means I’m still writing!

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  7. Focusing on those three publishers is a good idea. I don’t stress the yearly output though. I know there are people like my friend Milo James Fowler who produce one-two novels and dozens of short stories every year. I can’t do that, so I focus on what I can do.
    I started calling myself author not writer when I was officially published.

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  8. Hi Megan! I busted out laughing when I started to read your post! I’m a master at overwhelming myself! I’ve struggled with this all of my life. Kudos to you for following your passion. I always wanted to write, but life and the need to bring in money overwhelmed my dream Now that I have retired and am finally spending lots of time writing, I’m having a blast! Although there are those nightmares that wake me up in the middle of the night, the ones where I dream I’ll die before I get my memoir written. LOL! Even retired, my life is overfill, but it beats the alternative! Thanks for visiting my blog today ~ I’ve had a blast hopping around and visiting member’s posts as a co-host!

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    1. I’m glad other people feel my pain! I’m happy for you that you’re finally following your dream. It seems like anxiety about it follows you your whole life, doesn’t it?

      Thank you so much for the kind words, and for stopping by!

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  9. Hello, my name is Toi and I’m an over-task…I mean a multi-tasker. I’ve tried focues on one thing at a time and almost lost my mind, but that doesn’t mean to need to keep over doing it either. Over the years I’ve been able to find a balance and each day a struggle to maintain it. I’m an author, writer, blogger, and more. Thanks so much for sharing.

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  10. An an author/writer, I enjoyed both of your posts. In my writers’ group, we tend to call the published writers ‘authors’ and the still-submitting people ‘writers’, merely for social media purposes. We’re all hard-working writers. In fact, we refer to our ‘writers’ as ‘authors-in-waiting’. Something I’ve discovered that has happened to our group this year, which is now 50% published, is that there is a great deal of writer burnout being experienced. It’s very hard to keep up a producing pace, that’s for sure. But our group immediately dealt with that by having guest speakers who specialize in pacing and prioritizing, not only for output but for writer longevity. Good luck with centering and grounding yourself. Happy A to Z-ing!

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    1. Thanks for you viewpoint! It’s so interesting that the words mean different things to different people, that’s why I like having this discussion. I can totally sympathize with the burnout part…it seems like as soon as you get published you become anxious to get something else published, and on and on. You want to hold on tight to what you have and it seems like rushing to the next thing is the answer.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  11. I so feel your pain. I often think I can do way more than I actually can. My biggest nemesis. LIFE. Things like colds, unexpected visitors, forgotten social obligations, class trips, and even the dreaded APATHY (hey, sometimes you just need a break to watch four seasons of Supernatural.) These are the thinks that I always forget to include in my schedule.

    Best advice I have, Do schedule more, but be flexible when things don’t work out. Just like when I plot out a book, I always adjust my “outline” as I progress.

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    1. Yep, life is always getting in my way–luckily I’m all caught up on Supernatural, but I have plenty of other shows to binge-watch. LOL! I can be so lazy and distracted sometimes it’s a wonder I get anything done.

      Great advice–always plan for the unexpected! Thanks for stopping by!

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  12. I view myself as a writer, just writing about any ideas that come up in my head. I think author indeed is someone who’s published, but as someone commented previously, it does seem kind of pretentious, like you’re trying so hard to be a writer that it sort of backfired. Anyways, interesting post to read! Came here from the A-Z Challenge, intrigued to read more from you in the coming days!

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  13. It’s easy to put too much pressure on ourselves which can actually be counter-productive. Well it would be for me as I don’t write well when stressed! Work smarter not harder – a great way to be.
    Best of luck and congratulations on all you’ve achieved so far. Thanks for visiting my blog today.

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  14. My IWSG post today is about getting overwhelmed too! When I come up with new ideas and agree to work on new projects, I always feel like I can do anything and everything. Then when I try to do the actual work, I feel like I’m drowning.

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  15. First, congratulations on your current publication deals! I had to laugh when you said you want to sample every small press–I relate! I like to read up on things and keep my options open. I also have the mindset to produce work continually. So far I’ve been mindful of completing projects before launching new ones, for the most part. Plans don’t always go as expected though.

    Glad to meet you through IWSG! Here’s my post: Stephanie Scott IWSG April post

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    1. Thank you! And yep, if I see a call for something that sounds interesting, I’m like “ooooh, I could write that!” even if I’ve got a million things on my plate already. Time to prioritize!

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  16. I’ve always preferred the word writer. “Author” seems a bit pretentious to me, though I certainly do and say other things which many people would find even more pretentious, like using a lot of British spellings when I live in the U.S., or using the original spelling Vampyre instead of vampire. The one term I don’t understand is “aspiring writer.” If one is actively writing, that makes one a writer. There’s nothing aspiring about that.

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    1. Good points! The terms are interchangeable, I think. If you’re an author you’re writing and if you’re writing you’re an author. ‘Aspiring writer’ confuses me too. How much do you have to write before you’re a ‘writer?’

      Thanks for stopping by!

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