When I Realized I Was an Author

Recently, a friend asked me when I realized I was an author instead of a writer. Until that point, I had not thought about this question and quickly decided the moment occurred when I held my first printed book. Yet, that answer did not sit well.
I had always intended to write, but I never took the leap. The change occurred when I got laid off. At first, the words flowed onto the screen because I had been inventing stories for most of my life. When I finished the last sentence of my first book, I felt no emotion, so that was not the moment.
When I finally published my book, I knew I had “written a book,” but in my mind, that achievement did not make me an author. I thought that a person became an author when they got an award or had their picture taken on a gigantic pile of books. Or was it when an author attended their first book signing? Or receive a million-dollar royalty check?
My first sales brought little emotion, and they trickled off to almost zero. At that point, I felt I was further from being an author than ever. Later, I updated my resume to show that I had published a book, which made me feel like I was bragging about an untrue accomplishment. I was further from being an author than ever.
Two things happened in my life right when I published my first book. My English skill improved enough to spot grammar, plot, and logic errors in acclaimed books. The second was that I joined the Facebook group “Writers Helping Writers.”
I did this to gain insight and learn how to market my work. When I felt comfortable, I posted comments, questions, and answers. Most of my posts were to new authors, but some were to successful ones. Getting a “thank you” reply inspired confidence, and I spent more time writing.
One night as I was reading a post on Writers Helping Writers, it occurred to me that I was a “peer,” which made me an author. So, that was the moment. Well… I had become an “unsuccessful part-time author.”
Now when people ask, I answer, “Yes, I am an author,” with a hint of pride. It took significant effort to make the leap to put my writing out there for the world to criticize. Many people want to write, and they never pick up a pen.
Is this true? A few people have read my words and felt I had written something good. I like their compliments, and with luck and hard work, I will become successful.

You’re the best -Bill
July 11, 2018 Updated June 17, 2023

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