Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Secret Identity

Chrys wrote a wonderful post yesterday about "owning it." Writer's tend to be reticent about admitting they are writers. But really, is there any reason we should not be declaring to the world what we are? What are we afraid of?

I'm one of the worse. I don't tell anyone I'm a writer. I'm not embarrassed or anything, I just don't like the questions. Most people I know don't read the genre I write it. Most of them lean more towards the Jodi Picoult style of book. They wouldn't appreciate what I write and that's fine. However, I realized that I'm a few steps closer to publishing. I have an agent, the book is in front of editors, it maybe more of a question of "when" rather than "if." So if I sell and publish am I going to suddenly announce to the world I'm a writer? I can only imagine the weird looks I'm going to get with that one. So after reading Chrys' post, I felt empowered. I decided I wouldn't be shy about admitting my "secret" identity.

Until my MIL came over last night.

"So when is your book coming out?"

Okay, I know I have explained this whole process to her before and now I remember why I don't tell people about my writing. The process of getting published is one people seem not to grasp. I don't think non-writers realize how very difficult it is to get published, particularly these days. Last night, I really didn't want to re-explain what was going on. I didn't want to talk about how a couple of editors have already passed on the project and how there has been no news from the others.

Writing is a personal profession. We invest ourselves into our writing and rejection stings. Yeah, its nothing personal from the other end, but we can't help thinking it is a reflection on us and our talent. For me, writing is too important, being a writer is a facet of my character, one I like to protect and for others to treat it callously is painful. They truly don't mean any harm, but it hurts none the less. How can they be so casual about something so important to me?

Because they have no idea how important it is to me. Because I haven't "owned it" in their presence. I'm certainly not reticent about other things. I'm not sure why I am with writing. Anyway, I can't expect people to appreciate my being a writer until I appreciate it myself.

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