Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Do You Tell? You Know You Wanna...

Over at Nathan Bransford's blog, there is a guest post from Teralyn Rose Pilgrim on Do You Tell People You Write?

It is hysterical.  I laughed, and laughed again, because I've probably been through every stage she mentions.

Go read that post, but first, do you?  Do you tell people about your writing?  Are you in a stage where you're comfortable with that, or do you feel that it is still in hobby form?

I have to say that, yes, since February when everything started happening for me and my book is getting published, it's much easier to talk about it.  But before two years ago, I really was still in a cave with it.

I had written for years but only a few close family members knew about it.  They humored me with my "hobby" and probably thought it was cute.  I live in a very small town, and nobody around me that I knew of wrote books.  Two years ago, I got really active with the community side of writing.  Got online, got a blog, got on Facebook, and got serious about querying.  I learned quite a bit about the business side of the industry, and kept learning.  But still wasn't talking.  Not to anyone in my "real" life.  I'd be all over the internet, trying to brand myself, but only to the internet. 

A year and a half ago, I went to my first conference, and it changed everything.  I was a writer.  There were hundreds of people like me, looking for inclusion in this wonderful group called "writers" because back home they were alone with it.  I was told if I treated writing as a hobby it would always be a hobby.  That if I ever wanted it to be a career, I had to treat it like a job.  Punch in every day.  Tell people it was my job.  Own up to it, be accountable for it.  Sccaaaaarrryyy stuff!

So I went back to work, and one day in casual conversation, I told my boss.  She was like, "Really?  How cool."   I told my closest coworker, who isn't a reader, and she said pretty much the same thing.  I mentioned it here and there to people, or cringed and nodded when my daughter blabbed it in public, but once you say, "No, nothing published yet" well....then people's eyes glaze back over, and that's that.

When I got my superstar agent in February, I got considerably braver, and when I got an editor....well, you'd think I'd be telling everyone that walks past me, right?  But there's still that intimidation.  I think writers by nature are somewhat introverted, don't you?  We prefer the safety of an isolated room and our stories to a crowded room of questions.  I'm better than I was.  If asked now, I can talk about my writing and the excitement to come, but only if asked.  I still have trouble initiating it. 

"Hey! By the way, I have a book coming out next April!  What's it called?  It's called, The Reason Is You."     Yep...nope...that conversation is not starting with me.

And now I get to add, "Oh, and you won't find it under Scroggs, I'm writing under Lovelace."  And answer to those confused looks.  Not by my online friends, they get it.  My real life friends and family will be the challenge!

So what do you do when asked?  What stage are you at in your writing and do you tell people?  Are you treating it as a job so that one day it will be? 


Teralyn Rose Pilgrim said...

Thanks for linking to my post! I'm glad you liked it, and I'm eager to read other's responses.

Congrats on becoming a "real" writer! I think you were as soon as you started typing, but it sure feels good when you start believing it's real.

Sharla Lovelace said...

lol I think you're right! We are all writers as soon as we believe it in our own heads. What makes us hesitant is we don't think others will believe it. We think they need tangible proof, I guess.

Kimberly Krey said...

Hmmm. I'm not sure if I should admit to this, but I fell so in love with writing and so in love with my story that I DID tell people. Well, my family. And a few close friends. But I regretted it soon enough because I realized they would measure my ability to write a good book solely on whether or not I could get the thing published.
Like you, it took me a year or so to put myself out there - you know, go to the conferences and writer's meetings. But once I did it felt great to know I wasn't alone.
Congrats on your upcoming novel. Romance with a paranormal twist - I like it already! :)

Anonymous said...

At first I was scared to tell anyone. Only my husband and kids knew. I then started joining writer loops online and worked on my craft. Finally I got up the courage to tell my mom and she said, "Send it to me, I want to read it."

So after careful consideration, I did. I would put disclaimers on chapters that had cuss words and love scenes...of course she said she loved everything, she's my mom, but that actually gave me the confidence to start telling others in my family.

Now that I've published my first book, I'm totally out of the closet and loving it!

Patricia said...

Well, mine is a different twist, okay? I never got "the call" that everyone talks about and of which I am still so envious. Instead I had sent my first book (which I was ready to hide in the drawer) into a small e-publisher and when they sent me a contract and I signed it and sent it back, you'd think I would believe I was an author, right? No. Then I get told I'm now in the "queue" for an editor. Do I feel like an author yet? No. There is something about not having gotten "the call" and not having an "agent" that makes me feel less of an author than the people who have received both.