Look Mom, I’m an Author!

50029977 - notebook and pen on desk office, workplace, monochrome tone

This week, one of our foxes asked, “When did you first think of yourself as an author?”

I suppose the answer depends on one’s definition of author. Is it simply someone who writes? Or is that title limited to those whose works are published somehow? I imagine most people would consider an author to be someone who has some sort of writing available for others to read, whether it’s digital or in print. That would include articles, educational materials, and blogs.

Astraea Press (now Clean Reads) published The Legacy, my first romance story, in July of 2011. Prior to that, I’d been working on a samurai story for about six years, and that became my first full-length novel, published in 2012. But that wasn’t the first time I’d written for a specific audience. Before this, I’d written some educational materials for a company that published resources for teaching literature-based cross-curricular activities. In other words, I would take a popular children’s book and then create ways to connect the story to math, social studies, science, as well as language arts lessons. It was a lot of fun, but the company no longer exists, and I can’t recall the name of it. I’d also begun a blog, and had a few articles published online. But my writing actually goes back farther than this.

In the mid -1980s, I wrote the script for a couple of children’s musicals. While I taught elementary music, I belonged to an organization called the American Orff-Schulwerk Association and befriended a teacher named Phyllis Stycos who had recently written and published a children’s musical about Texas history. Someone in the group mentioned that Michigan would soon celebrate its sesquicentennial and that Phyllis ought to write one to celebrate that. She replied that she’d love to compose the music, but would need someone to write the script. For some reason, my hand went up, and together we came up with a play called Make Mine Michigan, featuring a couple of kids who come across a magical computer from which the historical figures in our state’s history appeared. We pooled our financial resources and published it ourselves, paying for printing and binding. As far as I can remember, that’s the first time I saw my name in print on a book. This is before the days of social media, so to promote it we went on the road, presenting it to music teachers all over the state. I taught the play to my fifth-grade classes and we presented it at the state music teacher’s convention in January of 1987, Michigan’s sesquicentennial year. We sold so many copies that with my half of the profits I was able to buy a nice piano for our living room. And I felt like an author. We followed that up with a musical about Christopher Columbus, and a Christmas musical called Santa’s Surprise, but sadly Phyllis passed away from lung cancer in 1996, so that collaboration ended.

So, to answer the original question, I first started thinking of myself as an author in 1986, when I first saw my name on the front of a book. Before that, I might have described myself as a writer, a wordsmith, a scribe, a journalist – the list goes on. Even though I know the dictionary definition doesn’t include anything about publication, it wasn’t until I held a book in my hands that I felt I deserved the title.

Wbat’s your definition of the word AUTHOR?

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About Patricia Kiyono

During her first career, Patricia Kiyono taught elementary music, computer classes, elementary classrooms, and junior high social studies. She now teaches music education at the university level. She lives in southwest Michigan with her husband, not far from her five children, nine grandchildren (so far), and great-granddaughters. Current interests, aside from writing, include sewing, crocheting, scrapbooking, and music. A love of travel and an interest in faraway people inspires her to create stories about different cultures. Check out her sweet historical contemporary romances at her Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Patricia-Kiyono/e/B0067PSM5C/
This entry was posted in authors, experiences, Patricia Kiyono, publishing, Random thoughts, The Author Life, writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Look Mom, I’m an Author!

  1. When I first started writing, before I had anything published, in no uncertain terms I was told by an author that you can only call yourself an author if you have “published a work.” After that, I referred to myself as a writer until my first book was launched. However, Merriam-Webster defines an author as “the writer of a literary work (such as a book), or one that originates or creates something.”

    I still tend to agree that the name/title author should be reserved for those who have works published (self-published or traditionally, article or book). It distinguishes having gone beyond the writing stage to having done something with that writing whether it’s an article or a mega novel.

    The person who first corrected me about the title was very snobbish about it. But I don’t think we should be. It’s just another phase in life like going from apprentice to master in a profession. Not that any of us are ever a “master” at the craft of writing since it changes all the time.

    The feeling I experienced when I held my first printed book was elation. I could now call myself an author. I’d like all writers to have that experience. That’s why I encourage everyone who writes to do their best on what they’re writing, and get it out there for someone to read.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. There are levels of ‘writer’ for sure and what gives you that ‘spark’ is a cause for celebration.
    I would LOVE to see “Make Mine Michigan”! It sounds wonderful.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Lucy Kubash says:

    I think if you’ve written something, be it a short story, article or a full length book, you are the author of that work. But to be honest, I probably didn’t feel like an “author” until my first story was published. We shouldn’t be snobbish about it, though. We’re all writers AND authors. I didn’t know you’d written the children’s plays, Patty. That’s interesting, and I’m sure it was fun. You’re such a multi-talented woman!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      Aww, thanks, Lucy! I’m sure the reason I kept up my membership in MMRWA is due to all the accomplished authors in that group who were definitely NOT snobbish and were so encouraging.

      Like

      • Now that’s an encouraging group. Much like the ACFW of which I’m a member. The Scribes critiquers in that organization are so encouraging, even when they catch errors, or show you a better way to phrase something. That’s what we all need.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Jeff Salter says:

    How awesome that your Michigan collaboration with Phyllis was not only well received but sold so nicely. I can imagine it took a lot of fortitude to travel from place to place to promote it — that’s a form of verve that I no longer possess (if I ever did). I can well imagine having a partner in that process made it slightly easier.

    Like

    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      Traveling around the state was certainly tiring! At that time, I had a two-year-old and one on the way. Plus, I was teaching full-time, so our trips happened on weekends. Yes, having a partner in that process certainly helped.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Elaine Cantrell says:

    I too wrote a play for my kids to perform at school. They loved it, which made me feel good, but I didn’t feel like an author at that time.

    Like

  6. I can’t even imagine how much work it was to write a musical. It had to be absolutely wonderful to see it be performed!

    Liked by 1 person

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