Saturday, January 30, 2010

I'm a bookless writer, how pathetic!

Photo: Tracy Cavelli Trussell, Christian book author at a signing in Arizona.

I just read a cute essay in the latest issue of Foreword Magazine about being bookless. Lisa Romeo hit every hot button of being a writer who has not produced a book. It is probably why I always hesitate to describe my work as writing. I'd almost rather say 'housewife' than writer. I expect to be dismissed as a 'housewife.' BORING!

But when I say, "I'm a writer," it opens up a whole line of questioning that I'd rather forego.

"Ohhhh you're a writer? What books have you written?" It is like an inquisition. I need to prove I am a writer. When my husband says, "I'm an accountant." No one asks him for verification. No one asks what accounts he has balanced, what software he's proficient using, or whether he's saved the company millions of dollars. They just accept that he is a professional and unless he's talking to another accountant, the conversation usually stops there. I think maybe 'accountant' is as boring a title as 'housewife.'

But writer. I cringe as soon as the word is out of my mouth. I want to add. "Don't ask me what I write or what I've written. Don't ask me where I get my ideas. If I knew where I got my ideas I would go there more often. Because frankly right now I am idea-less. Not a single thought or gem or nugget. I think about what's for dinner. That's about as creative as I get these days. So I imagine I will remain 'bookless' for quite some time.

For years my husband indulged me. I devoted time to scribbling on pages and he was okay with that. Did he think I was a writer? No. Did he care? No. What he cared about what us being a couple and me being happy. We were, I was.

Then I started making money with my writing. No one could have been more surprised than I was -- unless it was my husband. His view of me changed. Income producing work was a good thing. He bought me a pen. The next year he bought me a computer. And eventually an ergonomically correct chair. I probably earned enough in each of those years to pay for each item. But still no book.

Now my dear husband has come to expect income from my writing. And he has come to accept that I'm not an author. But I made the mistake of having friends who have written books, got six figure advances and he'd like me to do that. I would like that, too.

Is this the year I push past the blockage and just keep writing even if it is crap until I actually have something resembling a book? If so, I might even head to the next class reunion. Nah, let's not get carried away. That would require dieting AND publishing a book.

I hold out hope that my sons will publish. Both have books in the works. Hopefully they will succeed where their mother has failed and instead of facing people and admitting I'm a writer without a book. I can smile and reply, "I'm a mother of an author...."


Rebecca Camarena said...

Cute post. I am also a bookless writer, but have quite a few blogs and hope to be publish soon. Maybe, we should collaborate on ideas.

Dawn said...

I'm always ready to brainstorm and will consider collaborations whenever possible!

Lisa Romeo said...

Glad you liked my essay. It's touched a nerve, as I've heard from a lot of other "bookless" writers, too.
Hang in there. Someday maybe we'll share some prime book store shelf space. And if not, let's just all keep writing anyway.
Here's the link to the essay:
- Lisa Romeo

Bob Sanchez said...

Lisa, whether you are a writer doesn't depend on whether you have been published, but on whether you write. You are a writer, and there is nothing pathetic about it.

Ohiofarmgirl said...

Totally off topic.. but thanks so much for your article on blogging over at FFW.. I had not thought about blog posts as potential articles. I've been encouraged to write by a 'real' writer friend and I couldn't figure out how this could work. Now I have a new way of thinking about it. Thanks!