I have always dreamt of being a published Author. Writing has always been a huge part of who I am. I remember writing imagination filled stories since elementary school. In junior high, I expanded to poetry, the easiest form of writing to express myself. I was even in the Creative Writing talent as my school was for the ‘Gifted & Talented’. In college, I took a poetry class and threw in some laughter on a poem about bowling that symbolized sex (might post that one day). I’ve been published in school anthologies with both stories and poetry.
But, can I label myself an author if I haven’t actually published a book of my own?
Dictionary.com defines “Author” as:
I definitely fit the mold of #1, yet calling myself “Author” doesn’t feel right. I guess it stems from learning all those years ago, that to be a real Author, you had to be published. Published. What constitutes ‘being published’? As stated before, I was ‘published’ in anthologies put out by the Creative Writing talent at my junior high. I was ‘published’ in an anthology in high school. Do these count? Only a marginal amount of people will ever read them. And while I still possess all of these works, I highly doubt they exist beyond my possession anymore.
I write this blog. Starting in 2015, I created my blog, Rising From The Ashes, and still keep it active (although switching platforms from Blogger to WordPress). I bought my own website to make it official. I try to publish a post at least once a week. I have contributed to other blogs, sharing my work several times with The Mighty, Stigma Fighters & Postpartum Progress.
I have been published as a Contributing Author (note my use of the word Contributing as I was one of many) in Stigma Fighters Anthology II and A Dark Secret… both books helping to tear down the stigma associated with Mental Illness and Maternal Mental Illness.
But I haven’t published a book of my own yet and now I am questioning if I want to anymore.
I want to share my life with the world to help others like me. I want men, women, and teens to know they are not alone in there Mental Health struggles. I want to give them a voice. And while I have started my memoir, my book, to do this, I’m beginning to wonder if I have to complete it because…
Am I not doing this already? Advocating for those who feel they need to remain silent. Have I not been sharing my story piece by piece through this blog, on The Mighty and on Stigma Fighters? Was it not published in 2 compilations of stigma breaking books?
It comes down to time. I just don’t have the time to finish this book right now or in the near future. I don’t have time to actively contribute to The Mighty and Stigma Fighters if I even attempt to finish my book. Time is something I cannot buy extra of. Working full time, being active on my daughter’s school’s PTO, advocating. Nightly, I am left deciding if I have time to breathe or read my book for 20 minutes (the book usually wins out).
If I do not finish my book, am I still an Author?
Have I still made a longtime dream of mine come true?
I think the answer may lie in the grin on my face below.
I am Stephanie Paige, Author & Advocate.