Monday, July 11, 2011

Getting Out There

How many of you haven't told anyone you write? I know some of you haven't. Believe me, I've been there.

My question is this.

Why the heck not? Why do we hide our talents from people and when someone does ask what we like to do we say "I like to write," in the smallest tiniest voice imaginable. What is so bad about wanting to be an author? Why are we ashamed of saying those words?

When I first started writing I didn't tell a soul. Yes. Hard to imagine I know. :P I didn't even tell my husband. You know why?

I was scared. Scared of what he would think of me. Scared that he would laugh and tell me I was wasting my time. Well, he didn't do that. He didn't laugh. He told me to try to get my stuff published. And you know what? He's really the one who made me start this crazy roller coaster ride of putting my work out there in a business with so much rejection. And I'm so glad I did.

I'm also glad I had the guts to tell him. I know I'd never be where I am today without his support. Speaking of support, I wanted to thank my poor sister. She has read every single draft of my writing. *shudders* BUT, she's been by my side ever since I started writing my stories down. And she'll always be there. (Don't you shake your head. You WILL read everything I write, Chaleese! Bwah ha ha ha ha!;)

Anyway. My point is, if you love what you're doing and know it's something you're going to continue to do for a very long time, don't be afraid to tell people. Writing is part of you and you're stuck with it, like it or not. ;) I admit I still get scared when I tell people I write books, but they don't really give me the funny looks anymore. They are mostly intrigued. And I revel in that. Until they ask me when my book is coming out and I have to try and explain all the things you really have to go through in order to get someone to even LOOK at your book. But that's a whole other blog post. ;)

So you guys tell me. Have you told people you write? How do they react? Or are you still a closet writer and need a little push to put yourself out there? ;)


Ruth said...

I'm a closet writer with one foot out the door. The closest people to me know, but that's about it.

A couple weeks ago I was at a party and I walked up to my writer friend. She asked me how my writing was going and I wanted to hide and tell her to Shhh! because someone might hear for heaven's sake. Someone did hear. And it was okay. They didn't look at me weird or anything.

You're right. What is there to be afraid of? I will tell people what I do for fun, in my spare time and too late into the night. And when they ask me what I write, I'll proudly proclaim that I write Young Adult Fiction.

Lana said...

I never used to tell people when I was younger. Because I felt like no one would understand. And I still feel like no one understands. I say I studied creative writing, and I want to write, and they all say 'like journalism?' No. Not like journalism. 'oh.'
Now I tell people. I'm proud of it. And I like that people then understand that 'yes, I'm one of those creative people.' My boyfriend has been so supportive and encouraging with my writing. He always wants to read what I write and gets just as excited as I do about the little things.
My brother, on the other hand, thinks I'm wasting my time. He told me once that I'm being delusion, and I need to ask myself why I think any one would want to rea what I have to say :(:( Having said that, showing him my published short stories it like a big TOLD YOU SO!

Robin Weeks said...

As soon as I decided to write a whole book, I told lots of people so they could guilt me into finishing it by asking about it. :) Now almost everyone I know knows I'm a writer, and when they ask about my book, I can tell them something more exciting than "still writing."

M.J. Fifield said...

This is a great post. When people ask what I do, I don't usually mention the writing part because the first question they always is "what have you published?" and I kind of hate having no good answer. But I find when I do say I'm a writer, people are very interested. Or are very good at pretending to be.

Back when I was teaching, the social studies teacher would end up telling the kids what I did outside the classroom. Then they would come begging me for details. Mostly, they wanted to know if there was swearing, sex and violence in my book. They were more excited when I answered yes.

Emily Rittel-King said...

Yes I have! And I've both regretted it and savored it. I oscillate back and forth depending on how my writing is going. Is that weird?

Patti said...

A few people know, but I don't talk about it much, because I find people aren't that interested or they don't really understand. Maybe it will be different if I had a book about to be published.

Heidi said...

I don't tell people because I'm ashamed of what a cliche I am. Stay at home mom who teaches English on the side and wants to write YA fantasy? Puh-leeeease! I think it's a ridiculous dream, and I feel others would think the same thing.

Chantele Sedgwick said...

@Ruth I used to freak out if my hubby told anyone I wrote, but I'm getting better. I don't try to run from the room when he does it now. I love saying I write YA fiction as well. ;)
@LanaDon't you love the people that doubt you and then you turn around and tell them your successes? It's awesome.:)
@Robin Weeks I love that too. I'll love it a lot when I can actually say I have a book coming out. That day will be awesome. Someday. :)
@M.J. Fifield Ha ha! How funny they got excited when you told them there was swearing and stuff in your books. ;) I hate telling people I'm not published yet, too. It's hard to explain the whole getting published process. They don't really understand.
@Emily Rittel-King Same with me. Sometimes I'm excited to tell people and others, if my writing is having a hard time, I don't like to tell them how I'm doing. Depends on my mood. ;)
@Patti I think it would be different if I had a book published as well. Some people are really interested and others kind of look away when I tell them I don't have a book coming out. They had no idea about the LONG process of querying, finding an agent, revising, sending it to publishers. It's such a hard thing to explain.

Chantele Sedgwick said...

@Heidi I'm in that cliche as well. And I don't care! ;) I'm not a teacher though, but I am a stay at home mom. And it's not ridiculous. I think it's fantastic! :)

Kelley Vitollo said...

From the beginning I told people I write. My reaction is the same. I get a lot of "that's a good hobby" and "Oh, I think I will write a book" LOL. I don't think most people take it seriously, but I have those in my life who do.

Renee Collins said...

I told the ladies at my book club, and now they pester me endlessly to read my book. I said I would probably be more comfortable stripping naked in front of them. And I meant it!

Why, I don't know. See, I have a bell curve of nervousness to let people read my work. I'm more than happy to let my closest friends and complete strangers read it. But in the middle, my acquaintances and, like, people in my ward? SCARY!!

I'm thinking that if I get published that will change. It certainly had better change. But . . . I'm not sure, heh.

Madeline Bartos said...

I'm still a closet writer. *hangs head* Being a teenager, judgement is our biggest fear. I'm afraid of what others will think - big time.

My mom knows I write - but that's it. I'd love to tell her, but I know I'd never hear the end of it. Besides, it's so many "secrets" I've been building up. She would have a heart attack. Of course after she would come back to consciousness, she could possibly strangle me. . . or hug me. She just doesn't get the whole writing thing. I'm afraid to share my writing with her. As a parent, you probably want to club me over the head right now, huh? ;)

Phil said...

I am open about my writing to my close, more artistic friends. But most people, especially at work, I am totally in the closet with my writing. There's that stigma of a grown-up trying to write YA, which outsiders perceive as just children's books. Even more of a stigma that I'm trying to write contemporary and not the next Harry Potter.

Jolene Perry said...

I told almost NO ONE I wrote until I finished my first book.

Only VERY recently when people ask me what I do, have i said I'm a writer. I had my contract for a few months before I let that slip out. Kind of funny.
I'm envious of Kelley, who just tells everyone.

Marilyn Almodóvar said...

This is a great post! I have a friend who is in the closet still, and I keep nudging her to come out.

I started writing when I was twelve, and it was "normal" because my dad was a writer, and though he never published, my mother always encouraged me to follow in on his footsteps. She never thought I would end up trying to do this for real, and I'm glad that though she still doesn't understand why I write YA when I'm 37 years old blah blah blah, she's always supported me. The rest of the family both mine, and my hubby's one call me the writer, which suits me just fine.

Shallee said...

I've wanted to be a writer/author ever since I was like 6, and I tell everybody. In junior high, I even asked my English teachers to read my stuff and give me feedback. Now, when anyone asks me what I do, I tell them I'm a writer. I don't know why I've never been shy about it. Maybe because I love to blab about how awesome writing is? :)

Chaleese said...

Channy- I'll always be here to read you books. Even if I have read the same scene over and over again- with just one or two things changed in it.;) I especially love when you send me different parts of the story in random order, so by the end I have no idea what is going on- or where things are happening in the book? But as you well know- I LOVE it all, and wouldn't want it any other way. I think you're amazing, and will be the FIRST in line to buy your book. :D

Eve said...

I've only told my family that I write, and even then, it was years before I told them..I'm not sure why...I think it's because I think that they'll read something I wrote and say it sucks. I'm afraid of being inadequate..that's probably it. I know my style is not popular...I don't write about vampires, or teenagers in love, or werewolves, there's plenty of other people to do that.
That being said, I still love to write and if no one likes it, I'll still write it..and I'm going to start telling more people that I like to write!

Kadie Kinney said...

I was a closet writer until I started my blog this May. That was my huge push to myself to get it out there. I had only told a few people that I wrote, and I didn't do that until my first book was done...which took a LONG time to write.
But you're absolutely right that we shouldn't hide our passions and our talents, whether we have one or..say..three? lol. Thanks for sharing!

Kaylee Baldwin said...

I didn't tell anyone that I was writing a book until I had my contract from cedar fort. My husband, on the other hand, loved telling people I was writing a book. The first time he told someone, I was really embarassed, but then I got used to it. Now, the people who know me know that I write and the people who don't? I still don't say much about it. I don't know why.

Sarah Pearson said...

My Mum, my kids and my other half know - oh and all my lovely internet friends :)

OfficeGirl said...

I told people when I started 3 years ago. But after awhile the glow faded and people saw that although they knew I liked to write that it hadn't turned into anything and it became non-interesting. That's okay. Its not them I'm worried about. I don't mention it anymore to anyone. Every once in awhile someone asks and I nod and smile.

Chantele Sedgwick said...

@Kelley Vitollo I've gotten that too! People who say, "Oh, I could write a book." So not serious! ;)
@Renee Collins My acquaintances I can't really let read my work either. It frightens me!! I hope it changes for both of us if we get published! lol
@Madeline Bartos I'm not going to club you over the head. Don't worry. ;) I was a closet writer at your age as well. There was no way I was going to tell my parents I wrote stuff! Now, I wish I had sometimes. :)
@Phil I agree. People ask what I write and I tell them YA fantasy. They always say "Oh, kids books?" I usually just smile and nod. :P
@Jolene Perry I finished my whole first novel without telling a soul. And then started with my hubby and my family. It took me a few years to tell my close friends I wrote books. ;)
@Marilyn Almodóvar That is awesome that you wrote when you were so young! My family calls me the writer too! I love it. :)
@Shallee I love it how you were six and knew you wanted to be a writer. I would have loved feedback from my teachers! ;) I'm not as shy as I used to be, but I'm still a little bit. I'm getting over it though!
@Chaleese You're the best. Seriously. Heart you!
@Eve I totally know what you mean. I still feel inadequate. It's still hard for me to tell some people I write books and not have anything to show for it yet. Someday... Meanwhile, I just keep plugging along. You know? :)
@Kadie Kinney I agree. Don't hide your talents!! :D
@Kaylee Baldwin Are you serious? I couldn't have held it in until I had a contract! ;) I don't go shouting it to the world that I write, but if people ask what I do, I'll tell them. A little shy about it, but I'll get it out there.
@Sarah Pearson I LOVE that you call your mom "Mum"! I'm so glad your family is supportive as well! ;)
@OfficeGirl It's funny how people think you can publish a book overnight. They have no idea how long it actually takes. *sigh*

Nisa said...

I kind of just say what's on my mind. Sometimes that's not a good idea, but when it has come to telling friends and family I write, I haven't found anyone who's been critical or mean about it. They've either been supportive or indifferent. I'm glad you're not scared to tell people now!

Brenda Susan said...

You lookin' at me as you write that post?? I have only recently come out of the writing closet, even though i am over 50. Last July I found myself telling people that I think I have a book in me. Most are super encouraging, others just nod and their eyes say "yah, right".
But the telling has been a huge breakthrough for me and I am surrounded by encouragement now!

Chantele Sedgwick said...

@Nisa I love how families can be so supportive. I don't know what I'd do if they weren't!
@Brenda Susan Ha ha! :) I'm so glad you were able to tell people. It's such a relief getting it out there. At least for me! :)

Carol Riggs said...

Good for your hubby, to encourage you. Yay to him! Yeah, nonwriters don't generally like to talk too much about writing--that's why I go to writer's conferences. But I have a few polite friends (LOL) who inquire how things are going. As usual: slowly! They expect a published book to pop out in a matter of months instead of a matter of years.

Heidi said...

@Chantele: I know, and it's funny because I'm totally enthused and onboard about everyone else's writing. I think YOUR dream of being a writer is fabulous! It's just MINE that I think is lame, which I know is completely stupid. I'd better start some positive cognition exercises.

Anonymous said...

So, I am 16 and completely terrified and overwhelmed by the thought of telling anyone that I enjoy writing. I am afraid that I'll get written off as just another silly girl. I am not!!
nd, of course, if I were to mention it to anyone the inevitable "can I read some?" would arise. I don't think I could stomach the possibility of actually being awful and not knowing it.
Not to mention the fact that to actually be published is such a difficult process. It's all very stressful and discouraging... but I still do it. I can't help but want this, it's all very personal and sharing it is scary. but not sharing seems so pointless.
Your post is actually very inspiring and I wished I had someone who would be as supportive as your husband. it's terrifying to throw yourself out there and not know what your going to get in return.

Chantele Sedgwick said...

@anonymous: I think you are so very awesome for wanting to write. You are so right about it being a long and difficult process. I'm lucky I have a supportive family and husband. And I love them for it, but that's not all that can support you. The writing community is fabulous. There are so many writers like you who love to write. It doesn't matter how old you are, in my opinion. If you love to write, you shouldn't be afraid to tell people. I do understand where you're coming from though. I didn't tell anyone for a long time. But I got online, followed blogs, and found some amazing supportive writers and honestly, it's been the best thing I've ever done. And it made me feel less scared to actually tell people about my writing.
We've all had books that suck. I know I have! lol If you keep writing, keep learning the craft and find a critique group when you have time or when you're ready, you'll be fine. Even though I don't know you, I believe in you. We writers have to stick together. Ya know? If you ever have any questions, feel free to e-mail me. **hugs** Thank you for stopping by my blog. You've already made a huge step by commenting and thinking about putting yourself out there. Baby steps. :)