Today, my first-ever novel is officially out in the world. It’s real. It’s published. It’s in hardback. This has been my dream ever since I was very little. It always seemed clear to me that the best possible job was to be an author. Getting to make up stories for a living? Sign me up! I’ve always loved books as physical objects, and reading has been my favorite activity since I was in grade school. I always idolized my favorite authors, fantasizing about the awesome, creative lives they must lead.
Today I can really say it: I am an author. But it’s funny how even now, now that there is official proof, I still don’t quite believe it. It’s hard to even write that sentence without a reflexive little voice that goes: “Oh really? Who do you think you are?”
I never used to think I’d doubt myself as an author. I thought if I published a book I’d feel worthy, and that was that. I never expected that sneaky imposter feeling to arise. As I wrote about in my last post, throughout the creative process of this book, I constantly questioned whether I could actually do it. I sort of felt like I was pretending the whole time. When people would say, “You’re writing a book?” I’d brush it off. “Well, I’m attempting, anyway,” I’d say. I sort of always had this feeling that it didn’t count. I was just lucky, I’d tell myself. I was in the right place at the right time. Or, they think I can write a book but really I can’t.
But as we wrapped up the final rounds of editing, I felt something shifting. After reading and re-reading the manuscript so many times, being so close to it for so long, I finally realized something seemingly obvious: this is real. This is not a drill! This is a real book. It’s not pretend. It’s not a meaningless Word document. It’s meaningful to me, and so much work has gone into it, and it will soon exist in the wider world.
In that moment, I realized that even though I didn’t always believe in myself as an author, I did believe in the story of the book. I do believe in Ivy, the book’s protagonist, who in many ways is a version of my younger self. I believe in the emotions that Ivy feels, and I believe in her journey. She is very real to me. So for her sake, I must believe in this book. I must believe in myself.
I will always have moments of doubt– of thinking, can I really be an author?– but I will always strive to tell stories that are important to me, because writing and reading stories is still my absolute favorite thing to do. I will have countless more day jobs, and a million unglamorous moments, and unfinished drafts, and plenty of creative self-doubt, but I won’t deny what is now true: I’m an author. I think my little self, curled up alone reading all day, would be very pleased.
Lily Myers is a writer, feminist and witch from Seattle, Washington. Her debut novel, This Impossible Light, is out today from Philomel. She blogs about self-love and feminism at The Shapes We Make.
3 responses to “Can I Really Be An Author?”
Bravo, Lily! Congratulations!
Congratulations on your book! You ARE an author! 🙂
Any time you feel like it’s hard to believe, we’ll believe for you. And then point you to your local library to go see the book that YOU wrote on the shelves! (Or hopefully, off the shelves, being read by a kid.)