I am leaving for the Midwest Writers Workshop Retreat at 4:30 am tomorrow, and I’m all ready to go. I’ve laid out my outfit and I’ve packed a Treasure Island shopping bag with a change of clothes, pajamas, toiletries, snacks for the road, and two copies of the first 20 pages of my novel for critique. The only thing left to pack are my business cards.
I’m not sure I want to bring them, and you’ll soon see why.
About a week ago, I realized I should probably bring business cards. But these were the only ones I had:
Utilitarian. Out of date. No website.
It was clearly time to order new business cards! I readily admit that I love stationery. I delight in font options, colors, and designs, which made Zazzle.com my new favorite website. Silly name, I know, but they have thousands of designs from indie artists, including a huge selection of cards just for writers.
I’m picky, mind you. I didn’t want one with a quill or a typewriter or a fountain pen. I wanted a simple design, but a design that still screamed, “I’m a writer!” (minus the desperation). So on Monday morning at 5am, I scrolled through approximately 3,000 designs in search of the perfect business card.
And here’s what I learned from this experience: Never click PURCHASE at 5am.
To make sense of my eventual purchase, you must first understand its context. In my last Novelists Roundtable discussion, we fledgling novelists admitted our reluctance to refer to ourselves as “writers.” Apparently this is a universal fear, for which there is a simple cure.
To convince ourselves and others that we are real Writers, we must at all times refer to ourselves thusly, and in so doing demonstrate our unshakable confidence in our talent until someone else feels enough confidence in our talent to publish us, at last giving us the right to truly call ourselves Writers. It’s a matter of talent and wishful thinking. Or a true talent for wishful thinking.
To return to the business card dilemma: Despite all my practice calling myself “Writer” in front of my husband and cats, I have not yet mastered the confidence to say “I am writer, hear me roar” in public.
It seems I’m much bolder in print-especially at 5am. On Monday morning, dazzled by Zazzle, I realized that my business card could make the statement for me:
Perfect! Now I wouldn’t even have to talk to people; I could just hand them my card and let it do the work for me.
“Oho! You’re a writer!” people (aka. publishers) would proclaim. “You are confident in your talent, so you must be truly great. I shall publish your novel!”
That is the exact one-sided conversation that flitted through my mind as I offered my credit card information to Zazzle.com.
Only a few hours later (after I had my morning coffee) did I begin to wonder if perhaps this card might come off as a bit pretentious. Maybe it was making too big a statement. I wasn’t ready to proclaim myself a Writer in bold white letters on a deep blue background! What had I done!?
And then the cards arrived.
As it turns out, I’ve made a big, bold statement on a teeny, tiny card.