So, I've decided to take this gig seriously. I'm never going to be completely comfortable calling myself a writer, no matter how much I write, until, well . . . I don't know exactly when that will be. I've been published, so that's not the magic bullet. Perhaps there's some big milestone that will do it for me (publishing my second novel?) or perhaps it will be a gradual accumulation of things, little rocks piled up on top of each other to eventually create a mighty wall. I guess I'll know it when I see it.
Until then, I'll occasionally refer to myself as a writer in conversation or on some non-tax form, but I'll be doing it with the same level of aplomb that I exhibit when I lie. (I am a great liar, you know. Sometimes, I lie without even thinking, and then spend time later wondering to myself, "Why on earth did I tell that real estate agent that I was pregnant?")
But back to the writing, and the taking of it seriously. I have been writing or working on my writing every single day for weeks and weeks, and more often than not for months and months. And intermittently for year and years. What does it mean that I'm now doing it for real?
I have a nifty spreadsheet, where I'm tracking all my submissions. I have another nifty spreadsheet (thanks again, Paul!) where I'm tracking my expenses. I have a new file box with neatly organized project files, budget files, and mailing supplies. I have a sort of business plan, or at least a revenue goal and schedule in place to try to meet the goal.
Upon the advice of several inspirational professional writers, I am sticking to a schedule of working on stories, essays, and the submission of stories and essays one week a month, and concentrating on my novel-in-progress the remaining three weeks each month.
So far, it's all working very well and I'm feeling -- dare I say it? -- increasingly professional. Sometimes, saying something over and over really does make it true.