Yesterday I heard a writer call herself "prepublished." I've heard the word before, but it appears to be picking up steam, because lately I've been hearing it everywhere. Published writers are using the word (it seems to me) because they want to appear humble, generous, and encouraging. And unpublished writers are using it about themselves to demonstrate their determination to succeed (at selling their work): they're not your run-of-the-mill unpublished bumblers. They are serious about their writing. They're prepublished.
Give me a break. Do marriage-minded college girls call themselves prewives? Do Olympic athletes call themselves premedalists? Do Hollywood hopefuls call themselves prestars?
Here's the thing: If you write, you are a writer. Some writers are published, some aren't yet published, and some will never be published. Merely knowing that a writer is unpublished does not tell us she lacks talent or has a subpar work ethic. And the fact that a writer is published merely suggests--it does not assure--that she is both talented and serious about her writing.
Many unpublished writers lack the talent and the drive necessary to achieve publication. But just as every mother was once childless, so every published writer was once an unpublished writer--which is why I don't believe we need to replace the word with something more "affirming." For a writer to feel embarrassed about not being published is as ludicrous as a high-school kid hanging his head because he's not a doctor.
Please, friends, do me a favor and refrain from telling me you're prepublished. I've been known to snort when I hear that word, and I'd really hate to hurt your feelings.
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