Who’s an Author?

Rob Eagar posted a “Monday Morning Tip” this morning making the claim that there is no such thing as an author. Sort of a provocative way to start a workweek for us writers! Here is an encapsulating line from his post: “It’s not the act of writing that makes someone an author. It’s the act of someone else buying what you wrote.” Okay, that’s pretty provocative too.

It appears to be a reality of publishing today – regardless of the route by which your writing reaches print – that writers have to do their own marketing. This is viewed as daunting to most of us, but for some of us, it’s a world of promise. It hearkens back to the words of wisdom most of us heard repeatedly in our youth: “if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.” I don’t mean that major publishing houses can’t do marketing well; just that these days they tend to devote their marketing funds to already established writers.

Maintaining regular spiritual practices can help with the marketing process in more ways than one. First, of course, staying deeply in tune with your spirituality fosters a state of calm for approaching the task. Second, spending regular time in silence helps to clarify in your mind avenues that will be helpful to you and those unlikely to be. Third, and probably most important, frequent prayer keeps you connected with the knowledge that you do not have to go it alone.

So, move forward in marketing what you have written, and become an author – by Rob Eagar’s definition or anyone else’s.



Yesterday an episode of Bones included an observation that went something like this: “It’s a barbarity that clarity is such a rarity.”

Since much of my delight comes from words, I stopped paying attention to anything else in the show and devoted myself to rolling variations of that sentence around and around my mind.

But apart from the clever sounds, the message hits home with me because of the importance of clarity in our spiritual lives. It’s tough to have clarity these days, with so much in the way of images, sounds, and messages coming at us nonstop. We have to find a way to be still long enough to process what’s come in, determine what’s real and meaningful, and absorb what is of value while discarding the rest. Clarity, once we get to it, enables us to know our own opinions, to say what we really mean, to be who we are meant to be. Many of us rely on our spirituality to bring clarity to the rest of our lives.

One avenue to clarity is meditation, the kind where you quiet your mind for long enough periods to come to rest in the cosmos of your soul; another avenue is prayer, the kind where you take your time and say out loud everything – everything – that’s on your heart and then listen to what response there may be. A common avenue is journaling.

Whatever your method, arriving at clarity makes your entire life work better. The rarity of clarity is a barbarity.