Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Writer for Life?

I’ve been pondering this question for a while: Once you publish a book, are you “the writer” for life?

The question came to mind earlier this summer when the painter arrived at our house. He came last year, too, at which time he learned from my husband that I wrote mystery novels. This fact paid off last year, when the paint job cost more than estimated and a signed book was requested in lieu of additional payment. Gotta love that. So this year when the painter arrived, he said, “You’re the writer, right?”

I nodded. Yep, that’s me. Never mind that I am not currently working on a manuscript. Never mind that my last three manuscripts didn’t find publishers. Never mind that I’ve recently channeled my writing skills towards obtaining a steady weekly paycheck to help fund my children’s college tuition and my own retirement needs.

So tell me, is writing like parenting—a lifetime commitment of varying magnitude? Even if you haven’t “birthed” anything lately and all your “offspring” are out of the nest, is it still appropriate to identify yourself as a writer? Once you publish a book, are you “the writer” for life?

[This is my last post on InkSpot. It’s been fun, but now I’m done:)]


Lois Winston said...

Lisa, many authors go through a dry period where they can't sell anything. I went for 2-1/2 years without a sale after my second book released. I have a friend who had an even longer period between sales. She's since published 25 books and made it to the NY Times list. I have no doubt we'll be seeing more books by Lisa Bork in the future. Best of luck to you.

Robin Allen said...

Interesting conundrum, Lisa. If you've given birth to children, you're a mother for life, so I would say, yes, you're a writer for life.

Good luck with your new ventures!

Alan Orloff said...

Yes, you're a writer for life; you can't escape it. Of course, that doesn't mean you can't be something else, too!

Sorry we won't see you on the blog anymore (maybe a few guest posts, perhaps?), but best of luck--with the writing and with everything else!

Jennifer Harlow said...

People sometimes ask me if I like being a writer. I tell them hell no. If I could be a doctor I so would. Less rejection, less being alone, better paycheck. But I write because I can't not. I can't help but make up stories in my mind or spend my free time putting pen to paper. Been that way since I was a kid. If you've come this far, I think it's in your blood. Doesn't mean you can't have a day job.
Good luck.

Darrell James said...

Don't stray too far, Lisa. We'll miss you here.

Shannon said...

Yes, Lisa, you are a writer for life. Just try to quit. Like Lois, I've taken sabbaticals for various reasons and I have to come back, as much for the friendships and relationships as for the overwhelming urge to write stories. Take your time and do what you need to do but come back...soon!

Keith Raffel said...

Lisa, I will miss you.

I don't know if you can stop being a writer. Do you still listen to people talking and say "I can use that?" Or have something weird happen and think "there's a plot twist?" As long as that keeps on happening, you are a writer.

Dru said...

Good luck in your endeavors. We'll miss you.