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Just between me and you…

2 July, 2012

…I’m a writer. I write and have written (with varying degrees of completion) novels, shorts, poems, whimsical observations, blogs, comedy scripts, drama scripts, stand up comedy, pub quizzes and songs. When i am not at my day job, i will either be writing or i will be feeling guilty that whatever i am doing (however much am enjoying it, or am obliged to do it) is eating into time that i should be writing. And whilst doing my day job, or these other guilt-inducing activities, i am usually thinking about writing.

But I am incredibly shy about telling people i am a writer. I sit in the lunch room at work every day with my laptop, tapping frantically (or staring at the wall, huffing and trying to think of the right phrase) but precisely three people there know what i do. One of those is GAW (who i am close enough to that i can tell her) and the others are people who outrightly asked me what if i am writing a novel and i couldn’t think of a good lie. They are under instruction not to tell anyone because i don’t want to jinx the book, but in reality i don’t want them to tell anyone becasue i just don’t want people to know. If i had one of those memory-wiping lights like in Men In Black i would do those two people.

A few friends and not even all of my family know. If other friends ask me what i’ve been up to lately, the true answer is writing, but i usually say, “oh you know, this and that, life, work”. Earlier this year i sent a joint project of a drama pilot to a producer, and in my daydreams about us winning a bafta i told very few people that i had written this nominated programme. Everyone else would only find out if they happened to watch the ceremony. If i go on a date (yeah right! hypothetically i mean) then football, cinema, reading, the allotment will all get top billing in the “so what do you do” conversation, but the writing won’t get a mention.

It’s not that i’m embarrassed. Quite the opposite in fact, i am proud of the work i have done (apart from the standup, that was a carcrash) but the truth is, i don’t feel comfortable talking about it (he typed into his internet blog). And if i tell people i write, they will be all interested and ask me about it (because to be honest it is quite interesting) and that is a conversation i don’t want to have. I don’t really understand why this is, so this post will be one of those inconclusive, meandering ones that fizzle out. But there it is.

So, my fellow writers, do you have a similar reluctance to share the fact that you have that inner drive that causes you to spend hours on a lonely and solitary pursuit? Or is it just me?

**EDIT ON 3RD JULY** second question – how did you find your way here? I have had more comments on this blog than any other, and a few from people i have not come across before. So what made you click on me? I’m curious…..

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From → Blogging, My Head, Writing

37 Comments
  1. WOW…I just signed up for wordpress, with the hope of starting a blog and began looking for ideas and bloggers to follow and yours if the first one I came across and I just read this entry! You just described EVERYTHING I feel!! I too am a writer (though I have nothing published but many unfinished projects) and I too am at my day job thinking about writing. I am just kind of at a loss for words right now because your entry just said everything that i currently feel. I hope it’s okay to follow you. 🙂

    • Hi Jmo! Welcome to WP and thanks for stopping by my little corner of it. I’m glad you enjoyed my post, and looking forward to reading your blog,
      Of course it’s okay to follow, you don’t need to ask 😉

      • Thank you very much! 🙂 I’m very excited to start this new adventure and sharing with fellow bloggers!

  2. Gillian Colbert permalink

    I used to be, but not anymore. Because of the hostile and soul-eating environment I was in, I never shared because I didn’t want to be rejected or in any way shamed. Now, though, I’ve removed myself from that environment and I have no problem telling people I’m a writer. I’m very selective who I tell that I write erotica, but I easily tell people I write and publish fiction.

    • Hi Gillian. That’s great that you have moved onto to a better place. i can understand why you keep the erotica part quiet though, you never know how people will react.
      I’ve written a couple of spicier bits on here, and more that i haven’t published, but even those who know i write don’t know about those. Oh apart from one female friend who i shared them with, and she “enjoyed” them fully 😉 She even read some of it back to me aloud once. Wow, that was quite an afternoon!

      • Gillian Colbert permalink

        Yes, I can imagine. I’m thinking of offering my stuff out as audiobooks. I think the verbalization adds something to the experience.

      • oh you definitely should. some voices are so sexy that you could get off on them reading their shopping list, so if they were reading erotica…. mmmmmm 🙂

      • Gillian Colbert permalink

        Agreed … I’d have to find a good voice talent though…hmmmm …lots to think of.

      • think how much fun the auditions will be!
        and if you need an english accent, you know where i am 😉

      • Gillian Colbert permalink

        Well thank you, Sir. I will remember that 😉

  3. Great question! I do feel a little self-conscious about writing, because it seems like everybody “is a writer.”

    Loved this post. And regarding your stand-up attempts being a “car-crash.” You know, there is a certain segment of the population which finds auto disasters amusing.

    • since i started blogging i have (in equal measure) gained confidence from the fact i am not alone, and felt like i am one voice among millions that will never be loud enough to be heard. I guess it’s a question of your glass being half full or half empty and about to be taken away by a barman who ignores your protests because you are so insignificant.

      Sadly none of the auto-disaster appreciation society were in that night, and thus ended a comedy career.

  4. I’m pretty open with the fact that I write. xD Though I try not to brag about it, and only tell when I’m asked about it. If it weren’t for my parents shamelessly plugging me all the time, nobody would know I even wrote a book!

  5. TheOthers1 permalink

    No, you’re not alone. I’m selective about who I tell in random conversation though I don’t mind mentioning I like to write if asked. I think most writers have this reluctance. Maybe because writing doesn’t have the feel of being a career. We should be more forthright though.

    • Hmm maybe i am in the ‘selective’ camp as those i have told, i have been happy to tell. it’s maybe more that i don’t trust people much so don’t want to share that part of me.
      it certainly doesn’t feel like a career and it feels so far from being one that i can’t imagine it being one. but that isn’t what drives me to write.

  6. I don’t generally mention it because I am not (and am not trying to be) a professional. It seems to baffle people that I just do it because I enjoy it, as if the only reason to create anything is if you have some expectation of getting paid. So, then we have a whole conversation about that, and never about the work itself, so why bother? 🙂

    • If people think the only reason to create is to get paid then they DON’T GET IT!! im sure 99% of unpublished writers will carry on whether we get paid or not (but a bit of cash would be nice 😉 )
      I don’t always enjoy writing but i always enjoy having written.

  7. Delilah permalink

    I am probably the extreme polar opposite of you then. I love telling people that I write. I loved sharing my writing in high school with one of the Goth’s, who upon reading my work, claimed I was just too dark for him. I love being able to transform into this person who eats, sleeps, and breathes creativity. It’s what keeps me alive. I don’t care that I’ve annoyed a great deal of people by forcing my writing on them. Their loss if they didn’t appreciate it. I have to put it out there so I can get feedback. Do I listen to all the feedback, hell no. But you probably shouldn’t take advice from me, I am somewhat of an attention slut. 🙂

    • *some* of what you say applies to me too so we’re not complete opposites – i love being able to write, same as you, and it is pretty much what i live for. And yes, if people don’t like my work i’m not that bothered!
      i can be an attention slut myself – ive been a singer, an actor and a standup – but most of the time (and especially when it comes to writing) i’m completely the opposite

  8. I got asked “whats that?” at work recently. Stumped, I admitted that I Blogged. The well-meaning colleague instantly said “ooohhh send me the link, I’d love to read it!”.

    “NO” – And I was just the teeniest bit rude. I did go on and explain that I felt that as some of my posts might contain how i felt; it would be mixing the personal with the professional – this is just the same as me not connecting on my facebook page.

    Your post has made me look a little deeper, for emphasis this is the bit where I tell you that even my email address for all things writing related is in my maiden name.

    Yet all us writers “really” want is someone to read us, tell us we’re brilliant and validate us…. Weird huh?

    • i have only given my blog link to one person, and have only even admitted i blog to a handful of others. i would have the same reaction as you if – god forbid – anyone at work knew i blogged.

      at least you’re using your maiden name – believe it or not i wasn’t cristened “the reclining gentleman” 🙂 if anything of mine ever gets published it will be under my pen-name, which i’m not even going to use on here.

      yes, i want people to read me but do i want people to KNOW me? That’s a different quesition. Do i want to be told i am brilliant and feel validated? Of course, but is it the real me that is being validated, or is it the persona i adopt and the pen name i hide behind?

      • I believe that everything you write fiction or non has a little bit of “you” in it. I wasn’t christened “iwanttowriteit” either, lol. Just imagine the vicars face. Thanks for the follow. I like your blog too.

      • V true, we can only see the world through our own eyes. even when i write in different voices it’s still me but adopting a persona like an actor would

  9. I’m the same. I don’t like people knowing that I write. Or that I draw. I’ve never been able to put my finger on why. It does seem strange to me that I like that people I haven’t met on the internet read what I’ve written, but I prefer friends and colleagues not to know that it’s there.

  10. You had thoughtful comments on the blogs of people I like… So I browsed you. And low and behold I liked what you had to say. And that kind sir is how I found you.

  11. I have a different experience. When I tell people I know that I write, most of them don’t really seem to care. And it’s not just me. I listen to a lot of talk radio and they say all the time that their friends and family mostly don’t listen or watch the tv shows that they do. But the ones who do care will ask me what my book is about and expect me to sum it up in two sentences. I can’t do that. A book is long and complicated. As for how I found you, I was reading a post on http://tryingtowriteit.wordpress.com/ and saw your comments. I like to follow people who comment. They help me with my writing.

    • Hi POAM, thanks for commenting and following.
      that’s a very interesting point, maybe noone would care about my writing and it’s all down to my fears – that hadn’t occured to me! And yes, it’s impossible to sum up any work in a short precis, it needs to be appreciated in its full form (if they have the time!)

  12. must be a structure in our brains that drives us to create with words. One could argue that language makes us human, so perhaps you just have the need to celebrate that facet.

    you write well, be proud of it.

    • HI Bill, thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read and comment. And thanks for the compliment too!

      I don’t know what causes that drive, but some of us have it and the others don’t!

      • isn’t that true…. but if we were all the same, how boring it would be. enjoy your day, I am off for a bike ride in the 100 degree heat.

      • We are getting a bit fed up with the wet summer in the UK this year, but i’d rather cycle in the cooling rain than in 100 degrees 😉 Have a good ride!

  13. I don’t mind telling people I’m a writer but I’m very hesitant about sharing my non-blog writing with people. So they probably just think I’m all talk and no actual writing.

    I found your blog by clicking on your comment (don’t remember which one, unfortunately) on someone else’s blog (again, don’t remember which one, unfortunately). And I’m glad I did.

    • the general feeling seems to be a reserve about our writing, to whatever degree, it’s been interesting to hear everyone’s thoughts.
      I forget where my WP wanderings take me aswell, and how i stumbled across different blogs. i’m glad you wandered over to me, as it allowed me to find your blog! mutual following ensued.

  14. You misspelled “because” in paragraph 2. 😉

    Perhaps you don’t want to tell people you are a writer because then they will frequently ask you how your writing is progressing—which might actually stunt your writing.

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