Wednesday, October 7, 2020

IWSG - October - Another Year Older

Age is an interesting thing. It was not too long ago, maybe 10 or 15 years, that I asked my mom how old I would have to be before people just accepted who I was. Every family has that aunt who does things a little different, or that uncle who reacts a certain way to similar situations. Everyone has that friend at whom the others just shake their heads and say, "That's just so-and-so." I recognized a level of acceptance, and it seemed to only surround older people, not teenagers or twenty-somethings. So I had concluded that it must be something that comes with age, and I wanted to know when that was coming. At what age could I just be myself and others would say, "Well that is who she is," and not try to judge or shape me?

When I look back on the question, I wonder, does that mean that people have given up or stopped caring? It is an interesting thought and it roughly connects to this month's question.

Every year around my birthday I give myself a quick comparison. This year, I have two more years during which I could become a special agent in the FBI, a goal I only recently dropped, but I still use for perspective. A more recent comparison I use, is the first published date of famous authors. A study done a few years ago concluded that the average age of first publication among professional authors is 36. That's just 363 days away from today. Rowling was 32, Ursula K Le Guin was 37 if you look up first novel published, Octavia Butler was 29, Terry Brooks was 33, Stephen King was 27, etc. 

Don't worry, I am acutely aware that this is a form of judgement, and I am not placing it on myself or others. But it is a perspective with some use. It does not make me feel like I am inferior or behind. After all, I did not set out to become an author, it has simply been a dream in the back of my head that seemed about as likely as me becoming president. I also have a family and a full time job. Reading Stephen King's On Writing makes me certain that his wife should have received all of his early awards. This is also why I mainly like to read about the lives of the female authors mentioned above. No one needs to compare apples to oranges.

So does the fact that I have less than one year to meet the average first published date bother me? Not really. No more so than it did when I lost my first tooth at age seven while others did at age 5. But this does bring me to this month's question:

October 7 question - When you think of the term working writer, what does that look like to you? What do you think it is supposed to look like? Do you see yourself as a working writer or aspiring or hobbyist, and if latter two, what does that look like?

Will I be published by my 36th birthday? Likely not. But can I consider myself a working writer? I think so. 

I am not sure what other working writers look like, but for me it is having "office hours" and measurable goals. I have a set time that I write on specific days of the week, just like any other job one might hold. I also have deadlines and projects that keep me moving in a positive direction. I would call this working. So long as I keep these routines and these intentions, I would consider myself a working writer, whether no other soul ever reads a word I write.

If you are interested in reading what others have to say about this question, please follow the link behind the badge below. You will find many, many blogs here, and can hop to any you please for interesting perspectives. 

Special thanks to the  awesome co-hosts for the October 7 posting of the IWSG: Jemima Pett, Beth Camp, Beverly Stowe McClure, and Gwen Gardner!

Feedback:  I would love your feedback about the new colors and font on the blog. I was trying to match my style a little better, but still want it to be accessible to readers.