Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Author? Who Me?

Writing means having authority, which isn't always the same thing as being an authority. One of the challenges of writing anything—fiction, nonfiction—is learning to trust your inherent ability to figure out what you don't know, because sooner or later the not-knowing is going to smack you in the face.

Writing mysteries and thrillers is newer for me, and taking on the Pretty Crooked series and my most recent WIP felt like a huge leap of faith. Sure, I had faith in my command of the language, but I had serious, keep-me-up-at-night-sized doubts about my ability to craft a story in a new genre, especially one that was as complex as mysteries and thrillers. (This is not to say I have completely mastered it. I haven't. I'm learning new stuff every day, and it's a process. Even writing entries like this one sometimes feels hard because I'm still like, really? I'm supposed to be giving advice here?)

What I've come to realize is that authority is kind of a fake-it-til'-you-make-it situation. And truthfully? I don't think there's anyone, published or not, who doesn't have the sneaking suspicion that they're about to be unmasked as some kind of fraud.

I remember last summer when a bookseller referred to me for the very first time as the author of Pretty Crooked. I immediately felt so intimidated by the label I wanted to run away. Never mind that it was completely accurate—I'd written the darn thing. She was holding the ARC for crying out loud.

A year later, it finally feels more comfortable. I'm an author. I'm even a mystery/thriller/contemporary author. And hey, if you call me that, I might even nod and smile.


  1. Love this post, Elisa. I can relate.
    I think, too, the particular logistical challenges of mysteries and thrillers can make it especially hard to take that leap of faith, as so often we have to privilege our left-brain thinking to get the details right.

    You're an author, all right!

  2. Thanks so much! I don't know if it ever sinks in fully! You'll have to let me know this time what you think next year...


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