Monday 22 May 2023

Why I Chose To Be An Author - The Creative Process


I get asked this from time to time. People want to know what drew me to being an author, usually family members or family friends who knew that from a very young age, I wanted to be a doctor. It wasn't a conscious choice that switched things around as such. When I was in secondary school, I started to write 'stories' with a few friends of mine. Nothing ever really came of it, we thought we could get them published and would be rolling in money. Obviously I don't need to point out how naive that view was!

It wasn't until I was 19, and had been medically retired from working life, that I had this choice to make. I could do nothing creative with my time, or I could go back to some of those stories and pick out what worked, what didn't, and start to write a whole new story that was completely mine. I did that, a lot. You all know the story of how I was first published, but if you don't here's a refresher.

At 23, I got the chance to have a book published. I was very sick still, less so than I am now in some ways, more so in others. I wanted to leave my imprint on the world and while I had, at that time, about five books written, I went with what turned out to be my d├ębut, Blackout, and had that published with a vanity press. It did not go well, and it was never something I did again. Later when KDP and self-publishing opened up, I went for it with little understanding of what I'd be doing.

That's the broad strokes on it. I'm now 41 and I've published almost 21 books, and written double that in first draft status. I didn't, as a child, sit down and decide that the author life was for me, but at some point, with the doctor job out of my reach because of ill health, I switched paths and decided to throw myself into being an author. And as it turns out, I feel like that was always going to be the best path for me, though I doubt I personally could've managed to have the books I have now if I'd also been a doctor.

I chose to stick to indie/self-pub because I liked having the control over what was released, and how the cover looked, and which editors I worked with and all of that. I chose this path because it matches my own goals, and it allows me to be flexible with what I'm doing. That's not a slam against trad pub, I know a lot of people have a lot of success with it, but for me it's just not been something that I want to attempt. That may change in the future, but for now I'm happy doing what I do.

I know that a lot of people asking that question are trying to ascertain whether or not it's a viable job for me. Too much of the time people see you doing work and wanting it to be something that pays well and allows you to be a functioning, productive member of society. I mean, I don't make enough to live off my royalties, but I do very much enjoy what I do. I work anywhere from an hour to three in one day and that's about my limit. Being an author, especially an indie author, allows me to work when I can, and take time off when needed, and I don't have a boss coming to talk to me about my hours or asking for overtime that I literally can't do because my body is not capable of it.

Personally I don't think you have to have a job to be deemed a functioning member of society, or at least I don't think you need to have one that pays the amount people might think it should so that you can contribute to all the things needed. I think the world needs stories, the world needs creative pursuits, and that sometimes no matter how hard you try, you just can't live off what you get for that.

So breaking all of that down, why did I chose to become an author? Because I have stories inside of me that need to see the light of day, that people need to read, that need to be told, and I am the only one who can tell them the way I tell them. It's as simple as that!

Any questions? Lemme know in the comments!

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