So, You Want to Be an Author? Prepare to Be a Parent.
So let’s talk briefly about why you want to be an author. While I’ll bet you lust after Andy Warhol’s fifteen minutes of fame, what really drives you is the images in your head. You have a story or world, unique to you, that is dying to get out. Maybe you read a similar book that got things wrong. Maybe your adventure has never been told. Or then again it may be a dream that comes back night after night. No matter your particular muse, the story in your head pesters you and nags at you like a small child wanting attention. So you have to birth it by writing it and becoming a book parent. I won’t kid you, it isn’t an easy or a short road.
Just like with a child, it will take thousands of hours of to take that first infant idea and turn it into an adult ready to face the world. The good news is the second child is easier, and the third one even easier. You grow with your offspring becoming better and more proficient. While my first publishable novel took over three years to be viable for print, I can now bring a baby from idea to ready to stand on its own in three months.
Again, like children, you will go on many play dates with your book. You need to share your work, complete or not, to get an idea of how others perceive your skills as a parent. Is your story grammatically correct? Is it entertaining? Does it have the social skills that make others want to be around it? Did you neglect some portion of its education such that they aren’t logical? When you get these feedbacks from the others, especially those from other book parents, you must teach your child these new skills.
As with being a parent there will be ups and downs. There will days you just don’t want to write… “I just can’t adult today.” You will wince when a character has gone off on its own without your permission. And yet others where you wake up with the next scene in your head and while writing you don’t notice the time go by until your partner tells you that your dinner is cold. You will cringe every time your book brings home a one star on its report card, and beam every time a review shows you’ve touched someone.
What is the point of it all? With parenting of children, it is the survival of the species and passing on the values we hold dear. As a book parent it is about making the world a better place – positively impacting people’s lives. In spite of all the work and effort that goes into maturing your books, the reward is looking into the face of a fan who has spent all night with your child and is ready for the next step. In both cases the point is the sharing of love. If you can consistently give love, then you are ready to bring your baby into this world. If not, stay at home and write in the dark, alone and wash your hands afterward.
Founding TANSTAAFL Press in 2012, Thomas Gondolfi is the author (and book parent) of the Toy Wars series, the CorpGov Chronicles, and Wayward School along with numerous other writing and editing credits which can be found on www.tanstaaflpress.com. He is a father of three (real children), consummate gamer, and loving husband. Tom also claims to be a Renaissance man and certified flirt.
Raised as a military brat, he spent twenty years of his life moving to a new place every few years giving him a unique perspective on life and people. Working as an engineer in high tech for over thirty years, Tom has also worked as a cook, motel manager, most phases of home construction, volunteer firefighter, and the personal caregiver to a quadriplegic.