I remember reading an issue of Entertainment Weekly a couple years ago. They were interviewing a black woman about her first book. I can’t remember the author or book name but it must have been a pretty big deal if she was getting interviewed in EW. I do remember that she explained how she wears two different hats: an author hat and a writer hat.
Some of you might be saying, “Duh Kellye, of course, being a writer and an author are two different things.” But for me, it was the first time I’d honestly thought about that. Once I did, it made immediate sense. They were two very different skills and some are better at donning one than the other. I know I am.
I’ve had my Writer’s Hat probably since birth, but only realized I was wearing it at five-years-old. That’s when I first told my parents that I wanted to write a book one day.
At the time, I didn’t realize it would take more than saying the words to get an Author’s Hat. In fact, it took me over thirty years. Now that I have it, I’m still not sure how it fits. There are still times I feel like a kid playing dress up, one waiting for the real authors to notice me lurking around and gently shove me towards the door since this is a “grown up party.”
But I’ve forced myself to get used to being an a member of that exclusive (and elusive) club. In fact, Author Hat might as well look like the one Mickey donned in Fantasia. It makes me do things I never thought I would. For instance:
- Talk about myself…even while someone is recording: The idea of being recording talking scares the scrap out of Writer me, mainly I talk really fast. But apparently, I tend to be comprehensible when discussing my book. However, those interviews did tell me that I say the words, ‘right’ and ‘you know’ a lot. And I mean a LOT.
- Mastered humblebragging: I’m always in awe of anyone, especially authors, who can casually mention their achievements. I’ve never been that person. Ever, ever, ever. Even when I do list some impressive things I’ve done, I make sure to tack a a self deprecating joke at the end. So I was surprised the first time I told a stranger that my book received a starred review or was chosen as a Debut of the Month. I’ve even said it several times since.
- Finished another book: My dream has always been to get one book published. I never really thought about having two. It’s an open secret for debut authors that writing the second book is way harder than the first. I’m actually doing some final edits on Hollywood Ending before it becomes a galley. And I’m still a bit in awe that this still a bit of a hot mess Word document will definitely be a book in less than year. In fact, I still freak out a bit when people tell me they’re excited to read it (score one point for humblebragging Kellye the Author). My first thought is always “Why?” (and self-deprecating Kellye the Writer evens the score!)
What about you, readers? What different hats do you find yourself having to wear—whether you want to or not?