Tuesday, March 9, 2010

WRITERS: Who knows you write? Are you secretive or a jabber mouth?

I vowed to myself that only my husband (my free freelance editor) would know of my writing until I had an agent. It was just something I needed to accomplish on my own. I didn't want family members always asking me, "So, how's the writing going? Are you the next JK Rowling yet?" or have them whisper behind my back, "Yes, that's her, poor dear thinks she can get published." Insecure on my part--DEFINITELY! I just didn't want to put myself out there. It's scary sharing your innermost wants and wishes with others. What if they secretly think you can't hack it? What if they talk behind your back? Okay, there's that ugly insecurity again! Ugh, hate that!


So, how about you? Do you scream your writerly ways to the rooftops?  Does everyone know YOU are the writer in the family, working your fingers to the bone on your latest manuscript or are you like I was, secretly hiding your talent away until the time is right to reveal to the world?  

Hit me!

xoxo -- Hilary

54 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. My immediate family and friends knew that all I ever really wanted to be was a writer. I started writing in elementary school, and shared everything I wrote with them. They were so used to me being "a writer" that I think they wondered why I was so thrilled when I finally got a book published. It was like, okay, that's what you're supposed to do. LOL.

    However, even being published isn't "enough" for some acquaintances of mine. One in-law, upon meeting me for the first time, asked if I was published. Thankfully, I was able to truthfully answer "yes." Then he said: "Is your name J.K. Rowling?" I said, no. He shrugged and said "Oh well."

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  3. I am definitely a writer in hiding. Only my immediate family and a very few close friends know I write. Teaching's my day job, so I'm not even sure I'd tell anyone specifically even if I was published.

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  4. Everyone knows that I'm a writer... but I don't like talking about what I'm working on, IF I am working on something. It gets jinxed, somehow.

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  5. Nope, I don't scream from the rooftops about my writing. My closest friends and family know that I write and all of my writing friends (of course know). But I am beginning to open up about it more now that I'm writing full time.

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  6. I am a blabbermouth - I am always sharing my latest idea, showing the latest sketch - I am so excited by them. I also work a lot in coffee shops so that arouses curiousity. I just can't help myself. I do get a lot of support though - no one feels the need, thankfully, to diminish what I am working on. I generally get very positive and encouraging reactions.

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  7. Gerri Lanier3/09/2010

    * Oh, I'm in between being a jabber mouth and secretive. Although everybody knows I'm a writer I no longer talk about the projects I'm working on with family and non-writing friends. After a book contract fell through, several years ago, I've had to face all that you've mentioned. Actually, during my most insecure moments, I sometimes feel that every single person I know has given up on me. But, that's certainly not going to stop me from trying to achieve a book publication someday. *

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  8. I'm more like you...I don't feel like advertising the fact I write until (or if) I land an agent. I won't feel legitimate until that happens. But I won't go out of my way to keep it secret either.

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  9. Most people just assume I'm an at-home mom and that's it. Drives me insane because I *want* everyone to know what I do. Maybe it's because I've been published for more than ten years?

    But then there are the people who know I write but act like it doesn't exist. So weird. I'd rather talk about it than not - but I come from a family of accountants so it's really just my librarian mom & I who discuss it on a regular basis. :)

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  10. I'm not keeping it a secret, but I'm not blantly standing on a street corner yelling it to the world. My husband knows my passion and only he is allowed to read it. No one else has touched it, he tells me what he thinks and I fix it if necessary.

    Some people don't understand and think I'm crazy, but one day I'll show them they were wrong about me!

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  11. with new people i don't always bring it up, but most of my family knows. I do occasionally get the "why aren't you a best seller yet?" and it's only partially in jest.
    le sigh

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  12. I'm mostly in hiding. I mention things here and there, but most of my acquaintances don't know I write. Close friends and family do, though. :)

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  13. Everyone knows -- mostly cuz of my blog. I don't worry much about people looking down on me -- everybody knows it's hard to get published. And it's a nice conversation starter. I can go on and on about my writing...

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  14. I talk about writing to anyone who'll listen...I can't help myself. My husband asked me why I talk about it to people. He thinks I should keep it a secret until something good happens. I tell him it's so that I am publically accountable for reaching for my dreams. If I kept them to myself it would be easier to give up.

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  15. It seems like a 50/50 split on who owns up and who stays quiet! We're all different and I think a lot depends on the type of family we grew up in.

    Sharon, your comment on accountability is pretty deep! I never even thought about that! Brilliant!

    For me, it was something I was determined to do on my own. My precious little secret. I finally told my family the week I got an agent. They were bowled over to say the least! I handed my mom and grandmother a copy of the Nightshade City MS and said, "Guess what! I write!" I don't think they even knew I read! Ha, ha! :) It's so weird how life changes on a dime!

    xoxo -- Hilary

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  16. I'll work it into the conversation at some point.

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  17. I didn't tell people about it for awhile, but as time has gone on, I've told more and more people. My family and good friends know. Some of my office friends know and I did tell my students. They are great cheerleaders, so if they talk bad about me when I'm not there, I don't mind. They are very supportive.

    It's really hard though, because I do feel a bit of a poser without an agent to back it up, but I do agree with the accountability idea. I am a writer and my goal is to get published. I don't plan on stopping or giving up until that happens, so I guess I don't mind talking about it because I'm confident it's right around the corner, even if it may be years away!

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  18. Karly,

    Writing totally aside, I feel like a poser most of the time anyway! ;) Except for my husband, I guess I felt I had no one who would be very supportive. I'm sure I was wrong, but that's just how I felt at the time! Besides, I've a feeling you'll be on the road to "agentdum" soon!

    xoxo -- Hilary

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  19. My family all knows I write, but I don't go announcing it to everyone I come in contact with. Not yet, anyway.

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  20. My hubby & kids know, but that's it. I don't think I'll spread it around until there's some progress :)

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  21. Unfortunately, more people know than I would like! But I just keep plugging away. The more I write, the better I get, the sooner I can erase the pitying looks from their faces with good news!

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  22. I've been "writing" and telling stories since I was 5 years old. At 8, I declared I was going to grow up to be J.K. Rowling. When I was in 5th grade, everyone told me I'd be published by our ten year reunion. By 15, I decided I wanted to go to Columbia for their amazing writing program. (I'm in college now, but not there.) At 16, I had my first short story published. At 20, I'm finally realizing that maybe telling everyone you want to be a writer and you don't actually write novels (until you are 19) is not a very good idea. ;-)
    So in other words: the entire world knows about my writerly habits.

    Rachel

    P.S. I am following you! Hilary, congrats on your book being published soon!

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  23. It depends on how close I am to the person and if they're writerly as well. :)

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  24. I hid big time. Only a handful of relatives and close friends knew about my writing before I had an agent. Close to landing a deal, I told a few more people. I did not want anyone asking me how my writing was going or if I was going to be published yet. It took years to get to the point of being a debut novelist, and I simply didn't want anyone pestering or judging me. I certainly didn't want anyone to think, "She must not be a good writer if it's taking so long...."

    After my deal, I slowly told a few more people. And then people who Google me find out right away. I'm still not screaming to the rooftops about it. Depending on where I am and who I'm with, strangers will ask me inappropriate questions or for favors. So I still have to be careful who I tell. I feel most comfortable in my current crit group and at conferences, because I feel understood there.

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  25. Just like when I began my blog, first I was pretty secretive, but it became so much a part of my life that I soon mentioned it. A bunch of family members have a read some of my writing. While it makes me uncomfortable and I hate hearing, "So, do you have book published yet?", it keeps me from having thin skin.

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  26. Very few people know that I write. I'd be content for it to stay that way.

    I won a state scholarship writing contest in 5th grade, which hit the news and papers; the governor and mayor and my school made a big deal of it. Freaked me out. Never again, I swore. Later, I had a few things published in college, only my profs knew, and only because they are the ones who insisted I send them in. I made them swear to keep it quiet.
    After college, a 'normal' career, a marriage and a child left me only time and energy for reading and idea jotting. I didn't write for years, ignoring the voices of characters in my head.
    Eventually my daughter became more independent, and somewhere in her tween years, I began writing again. Just little spare moments. My husband knew, but understood my need to be private about it. Last year, for my birthday, he gave me a MacBook. It was a complete surprise. I hadn't asked for a laptop; not a techie, I didn't know I wanted one.
    Newfound portability allowed me to find more snippets of writing time. I knocked out a 90,000 first draft novel in a couple of months.
    I'm currently polishing its third draft, and started writing a second novel.
    Not one of my 'real life' friends has a clue. They know I read a lot, and often look to me for recommendations and book loans. My husband, daughter (now 14), and the writers from my critique group, are the only 'real' people who know.
    I did Nano '09 and began a blog to network with other writers, so I have a bunch of wonderful bloggy friends who know--but I don't use my real last name, and no one in my 'real life', aside from my husband, knows I have a blog.
    I love literature. Reading and writing and words fascinate, intrigue, illuminate me. I have zero desire for 'fame'. My crit group consist mostly of published authors and they insist my completed novel is ready to send out. They beg me to allow them to give the MS to their agents. But I'm still clinging to it. I am not afraid for people to read it, I just don't want any attention. I just want to be allowed to write and play and live in peace.
    What this says about me, I shudder to ponder.

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  27. They know, but as others said I don't fill them in on every detail although it's tempting. I want everyone to know my characters...but their day will come.
    ~ Wendy

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  28. I will pretty much tell anyone who will listen I'm writing and illustrating a picture book! I'm defintely in the same school of thought as Sharon - being held to public accountability - my whole blog is based on it - although of course I don't share any specific passages or illos.

    I also find it really helpful to find like-minded people who are a great resource, form a support base and a following.

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  29. Telling people I was writing at least felt a little better than "I'm home all day with my kids" which then brought on the speculation of what I did all day (which was NOT sitting around eating bonbons and watching soaps, not that there's anything wrong with that...)

    But it probably wasn't until my book sold that the words "I'm a writer" came out. I still kind of stutter over them.

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  30. Only my family, closest friends, and blog followers know. If someone asks me what I do, I always say, "I'm a stay-at-home mom." It's a little like telling people the name of your baby before the baby's been born; you get a lot of unsolicited opinions otherwise. LOL!

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  31. Everyone in my family and life knows that I write, but I think they just humor me. My husband and kids are probably the only ones that know how serious I am. The rest think like most of the world does...until you've published something...enhhh.

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  32. I haven't shouted it from the rooftops but people close to me know I write. Most people in my family know as well. A lot of my nieces have read for me.

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  33. Big jabberer here. Can't keep anything to myself.

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  34. I always told everyone I was a writer, even before I got published. If you write, then you're a writer, and I wanted to take myself seriously. Thanks for following my blog and congrats on your upcoming book!

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  35. Hi Hilary,
    I just happened to click on over to your site and I'm happy I did...
    first of all..congrat's on your book!

    I consider myself a writer...it's just this thirst or hunger I have that needs to be filled. I write when I'm inspired, or sad, in the morning, and at night when I can't sleep...it's a part of me.
    I don't like it when anyone feels that unless they are published, they aren't a 'real' writer...
    I have self published a children's book..and I'm working on another one..but it's only one of the many things I dabble in! lol

    come by and read me on my blog sometime...it would be nice to get to know you!!!

    ciao bella...
    carmelina

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  36. did I hear a beep?

    Look for the article called, "a writer's space"... it might interest you!...

    see you....

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  37. Welcome all newcomers! What a great week!

    Lola, I love your thoughts on the matter! It sounds like your hub is very supportive. Mine is too! We are lucky girls!

    Angie, If you write, then you're a writer! Yes! Well said!

    Carmelina, I totally agree! Being published shouldn't validate are writing talent! I wish I had read all these inspiring posts when I was being all hush, hush!

    I have such great respect for all you writers who shout it to the world! And why shouldn't we?

    WRITERS ROCK!!!!!!!

    xoxo -- Hilary

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  38. I'm somewhere in the middle. When I first started out, I kept it mainly to myself. But now that I've been doing this writing thing for a while and have had some things published in magazines, I'm a little more open about it.

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  39. I'm in the middle too. My immediate family knew I was writing before I got my agent. After I told a few close friends. If one of my books ever actually get published I'll probably start telling people I'm a writer.

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  40. Oh, I'm a blabber'er for sure. I'm of the ilk of "why not?" Writing is something I do...that I love...so why not share it with people?

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  41. Rebecca, Natalie, you guys are lucky you are in the middle! My poor husband got all the brunt of my writer angst, since he was the only one who knew!!! ;)

    K.M.! You are so right! Why should we not shout about something so important to us? It makes us happy and whole! We should scream it!!!

    xoxo -- Hilary

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  42. Now that I have a real story published, I'm a little more open. Though I'm still shy about my unpublished novel. I was, however, horribly shocked to find out my husband was trying to "get me an in" with someone at his office who's husband is an agent. He's not even sure what genre they specialize in. I'm so embarassed. My name will be spat upon in literary circles all over. LOL

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  43. My close friends and family have always known, but I didn't start sharing it with everyone until a few years back when I started getting involved with writers' organizations.

    I like your blog! Thanks for the visit and the follow. :)

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  44. Total jabber-mouth. Everyone knew I was trying to make it as a writer some years before I actually did. Got fired over it actually (spending all my time calling literary agencies to find out who I should sumbit to, should have been more discreet).

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  45. Everyone knew that I wanted to be a writer, mostly because I was in desperate need of childcare and you get a lot of leeway with relatives when you're dropping the kids off so you can write, as opposed to dropping the kids off for some "me" time. Since I started out writing and selling short stories and children's nonfiction, there was just a lot more material flowing in and out. For a while, I put myself on a schedule of five submissions a week - most were rejected, of course, but that's how it works. So when the acceptances started coming in, I had a lot of people who were already cheering for me.

    Now, though, that I'm primarily in novels, I find that I'm way more secretive. Maybe because a novel is more emotionally taxing than a short story? Or, more likely, now that I've actually sold one book, I've become much, MUCH more neurotic.

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  46. Amanda, that's so sweet what your husband did, but I'd die too! :)

    Dawn, I think writers orgs are so wonderful! I'm in the SCBWI and I've met so many great people! It's just great!!!

    SarwatC, Oh my gosh! You got fired? How terrible! At least there's email now!!!

    Kelly, Congrats on your book! Thank goodness you have a family that helps out with the little ones so you can write! My hub is great like that!

    xoxo -- Hilary

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  47. I'm a total blabbermouth - but only because writing is my life. I'm a freelance copywriter and editor by day, and working on my horror novel by the rest of the day, and then reading in the hours that are left. It's simply who I am, and the people I interact with are also mainly writers and family & friends who take part in my incessant ramblings about art, literature, writing, etc. So everyone knows that's who I am and what I do :)

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  48. interesting topic. I'm a mouse. I don't tell people anymore. Why? For the reasons you said. Those I told have finally stopped bugging me because it's been so long, so there's that at least.

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  49. Hi

    Gosh.I'm abit weird on this one. I'm as insecure with zero confidence about my writing abilities as the next person but then the few times I got a short story published or win a competition or get a really good grade for my writing course assignments, I'm advertising the stories to all and sunder like no-one's business! It;s like, please read my stories, you know you want to! LOL!

    I guess it boils down to me being incredibly paranoid and horribly vain. LOL!

    Take care
    x

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  50. Hi, Hilary. Sincere congrats on the publication of your book. I think I'd be dancing for joy! My daughter is only four but she's very smart, so I think I'll have to buy your book for her. Of course her review might be no better that "I wuv it" but we'll try our best.

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  51. thanks for the follow! and congrats on the publication coming up. sounds like an interesting series!

    jeannie
    The Character Therapist

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  52. I used to tell no one, but now it's become more a common part of conversation because writing occupies such a huge part of my life now. So...I've done both!

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  53. My family knew and only three friends. Now that I have an agent, I'll tell anyone who'll listen, haha!

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  54. I just enjoy writing. Everyone close to me knows that...whatever else may stem from it is gravy. Thanks for the reflective topic and I'm glad to have just found your site.

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