Since I have started connecting with a number of other writers in the Land of Facebook and Twitter, many have admitted that only their closest family and friends know about their “other life” – the one where they regularly meet with characters of their own creation and visit places that may only exist in their own minds. But I can go one better. My husband is the only person close to me that knows about my writing. No, actually, that’s not entirely true. My seven year old daughter recently put two and two together when she took a peek at my computer screen recently (I was in the middle of a writing frenzy and couldn’t bear to part with my laptop) and asked if I was writing a story. She has since been sworn to secrecy, though has no doubt forgotten all about the incident by now.
There are several reasons I have kept my writing a secret. Probably the most prominent reason, and no doubt a very common reason amongst closet writers, would be a certain lack of self-confidence. My very first manuscript is not at a stage where I am ready for anyone to read it and so people’s ignorance of what I do in my spare time saves me from having to self-conciously ‘um’ and ‘ah’ over questions they might ask me about it.
Also, for various reasons, I will need to keep my professional life and my life as a writer separate, so my colleagues don’t know a thing about it. This is also the reason I’m writing using a pseudonym. I really do feel like I’m leading a double life, which is kinda cool! All I need is a cape.
The last reason I have for not wanting to mention my writing to anyone I know comes from a very arrogant place inside me that would love to wait until I have a published book I can hold in my hands and plonk down in front of those close to me and say, “Look what I made! Aren’t I clever?”
Despite each of my motivations for remaining in the writing closet, I know I will come out eventually. I have started making connections online with other writers, though of course, this isn’t the same as telling a living, breathing person that you are a writer. I recently had that experience, however, when I went down to my local arts centre to purchase a ticket for A Date Night with Romance Authors (specifically Jennie Jones, Juanita Kees and Lily Malone – if you’re in metro WA, get on it people!). There I met Monique of Write Note Reviews, who no doubt thought I was weird for purchasing a single ticket, though she got me talking about the Romance genre and I admitted, for the first time ever, to a flesh-and-blood person, that I was currently writing in the genre. Little did she know what a momentous occasion it was for me. If you’re reading this now, Monique, thanks for making it a pleasant one!
Tomorrow will be another momentous occasion…I’m off to a marketing workshop where I will meet a number of fellow RWA members. Exciting times!