The calendar tells us that it’s time for the seasons to change again. Still, beyond winter, spring, summer, and fall, we experience other seasons, too. We move through seasons of life as we parent babies and teenagers, experience empty nests, and become caregivers for our own parents.
Writing adds another layer to already full lives. So let’s talk about seasons in a writer’s life.
Season 1: I Want to Be a Writer
You might have been in third grade or a freshman in college when you realized you loved to write. Perhaps you began to write then—a diary, journal, short stories, maybe even a full-length book. Or not. Maybe you put aside thoughts of writing as you began your family and cared for your children as they grew from infancy to young adulthood. Perhaps, like me, you followed a corporate career track, putting your writing dreams on hold. Maybe you’re still in this season.
Season 2: I Am a Writer
You’ve been writing for a while, but when anyone asks about it, you brush off questions with a self-conscious shrug. “Oh, that? That’s just a hobby.” It’s more than a hobby, but you aren’t ready to tell anyone. Why? Because the first thing people want to know is whether you’ve had anything published. A question no writer wants to answer if the answer is no. But one day, you stood straight, squared your shoulders, and spoke the words aloud: “Yes, I am a writer.”
Season 3: I Want to Be an Author
Is there a difference between being a writer and an author? I believe so. A writer writes for private enjoyment. A writer writes because they can’t not write. An author writes for publication. But to be published, we have to actually show others what we’ve written. Not just show them, but open ourselves to critique. The truth may hurt, but without truthful and sometimes painful edits early in our careers, publication often remains out of reach. Still, who wants to hear that their baby is ugly?
Season 4: I Am an Author
You attended writers’ conferences. Joined writers’ groups. Read books on writing. And you wrote. After mounds of rejection letters—enough to wallpaper a room in your house—you finally hold the golden ticket: an acceptance letter for your work. An agent chose to take you on. Or a publisher published your book. Someone considered your work to be commercially viable. Enough so that he or she even paid you. Was it an article? A short story? Or the Great American Novel? Whatever it was, you’re now an author.
Season 5: Platform, Platform, Platform
In the real estate business, location is everything. In the publishing business, platform is everything. Once we’ve written a fabulous book, we must market it. No matter how moving the story is or how helpful the nonfiction premise, it won’t matter if readers don’t read it. So we market. We tweet. We post. We travel. We speak. We sign. And we do it all over again in a never-ending cycle. But that’s okay, because we’re authors.
Season 6: I’m Not a One-Story Wonder
You hold your first book in your hand, thrilled beyond imagination. Your baby is in print, for all to read. But a frightening question haunts you. Can I do it again? Do you have another book in you? To compound your worries, not only do you have to write another book, you still have to market your first book. Writer? Author? Marketer? Yes. Yes. Yes. Circus jugglers could learn a thing or two from us!
So what’s my point? Publishing isn’t for anyone who thinks he or she can go it alone. There’s no room for lone rangers in this business. We need each other. We need critique partners, beta readers, and influencers. And even though words are our medium, we also need friends who understand without a word being spoken.
What season are you in?
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Ava Pennington is a writer, Bible teacher, and speaker. Her book, Daily Reflections on the Names of God: A Devotional, is endorsed by Precepts founder Kay Arthur. She has also written numerous articles for magazines such as Clubhouse, Today’s Christian Woman, Power for Living, and Called. In addition to her writing, Ava teaches a weekly Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) class of 300 women. She is a passionate speaker and teacher and delights in challenging audiences with the truth of God’s word in relevant, enjoyable presentations. Ava and Russ have been married for 40 years and live in southeast Florida. For more information, visit her at AvaWrites.com.