Monday, October 25, 2010

Telling People

If you're anything like me, there are people you've told about your writing, and people you haven't. I learned early on that certain people didn't respect my desire to write. They would look at me sideways, or their eyes might glaze over when I tried to talk about my new book idea. Or worse, they would actually talk about me behind my back, whispering that I was "wasting my time" with my efforts, which they didn't understand in the first place.

So, I started keeping my writing private (with the exception of some very close friends and a few cherished family members who were nothing but supportive and wonderful).

Thus, it's been FASCINATING, now telling people I have an agent. Those who supported me all along are amazing -- they smile and cheer for me and get all excited. Genuinely excited. But those who did not support me all along are....baffled. LOL They're actually stumped by it. Shocked that I actually "did it." That I actually legitimized myself in their eyes.

But here's the part that frustrates me the most, and even before I got an agent, I struggled with this -- why should getting an agent/publisher "suddenly" make you legitimate? Why should it suddenly validate the work you've been doing FOR YEARS, all this time? It's the same work, isn't it? And you're still a writer, just like you've been all that time. Part of me doesn't understand that mentality. A writer is a writer is a writer. Published or not.

Anyway, it just cracks me up, seeing the various responses I'm getting. For the most part, people have been nothing but kind and genuine and happy for me. But I can't help but roll my eyes at those who are finally "catching up," whose shock has turned to ACTING like they care, who now feel that, suddenly all these years, I haven't been wasting my time. Oh, brother....

For two seconds, I hesitated being this honest in my blog -- even though these people aren't mentioned by name -- thinking maybe I'll hurt someone's feelings. But here's the irony: those "stunned-by-my-agent-news" people aren't reading my blog in the first place, lol! Sure, they have the link, but they don't ever visit. Because they just don't care. (Oh--until I get published, that is.... ;-)

P.S. - it goes without saying that you guys have been amazing - so sweet with your comments and support. That's what I love most about this blog format, about this particular circle of writers who understand each other - and are genuinely happy for each other!


  1. I'm happy for you. Ecstatic. Over the moon. Your getting an agent is the greatest news I've gotten this month. And I'm jealous. But that just stokes the fire. So, once more, congratulations!

  2. LOLOL, Matt - thanks! And one day in the not-distant-at-all-future, I'm going to post the same thing on your blog!! It WILL happen!!

    If I'm terribly honest, I remember the envy, too. I think every writer feels it. I know I did. Every single time I read about someone else getting published on a blog or writer's board, I would be genuinely happy - truly - but I'd also be secretly jealous. "Why isn't that ME??" I'd wonder. you said, all it did was make me want it even keep sending out those hundred query letters...

  3. I love how honest and raw you are in this entry.

    Silence speaks volumes, doesn't it?

    I am so happy for you. I cannot wait to read everything!!

  4. This was a great post, and I understand completely. Since I'm unagented, I too, don't tell everyone that I write. And I'm ashamed to admit that sometimes, more often than not, I'm kind of embarrassed to admit to someone that I write. I think because no one seems to take it seriously. Though my mother and sisters verbally support me, if I bring it up, they never ask how my writing is going. I don't think they think I'll ever really find an agent and get published. Thankfully, my husband DOES take me seriously and encourages me.

  5. Thanks, B! Yep, silence says pretty much everything. :-P

    April, you took the words right out of my mouth. Just yesterday, I was telling my dad (thankfully, very supportive) that all these years, I've almost been ashamed to tell people I write - like it's my dirty little secret or something. Because the next question out of people's mouths is always, "Oh - is it published?" *eyeroll*

    Yep, a couple of certain people in my family NEVER asked about my writing -- until I got an agent. Suddenly, they're curious about it. You're lucky to have a husband who supports you! My ex didn't. At all. In fact, when I once shoved 2 pages in front of him, "making" him read something I was really proud of, I watched him read, then said, "What did you think?" He shrugged, handed them back to me, and said, "I don't know. I never read, so I don't know what's good and what's not."

    Niiiice. So glad he's an "ex." LOL

  6. I don't even 'know' you and I'm extremely happy for you, lol! If only because I know you are truly genuine in everything you post, from your blog, to QueryTracker, to AbsoluteWrite.

    And I also understand the telling/not telling people about your writing. The first question is always 'is it published?' or 'can I buy it in a real live bookstore?'. You say no to either, and people always seem to give you that certain... *look*, as if you're not serious about what you're doing or that writing a book is not a real job, more or less a hobby you can quit at any time. Well, My name is Keliah, and I'm addicted to words, writing and reading. I cannot just quit this *nasty* habit.

    I don't think non-writers understand how difficult this business really is. I overheard someone the other day saying, 'Oh, well, if I wrote a book, I'd just get an agent and get it published'. Yes, because it's just that simple, right? We're all writing books about Hogwart's housing new guys named Edward Smullen, yes? :)

    Anyway, just wanted to wish you another congrats and good luck w/revisions!


  7. Keliah - what a lovely post! Thanks for the very kind words! And thanks for reading the blog.

    LOL - I've seen that "look" from people many times. It's exactly why I had to quit telling people I'm a "writer." :-P

    I know! How crazy is it, when people think EVERYONE can write, or that it's super-easy to get published? Umm, nope. They have no idea the years of study, practice, diligence, and tenacity it takes to be a writer. Which makes me thankful for communication with other writers who "get" me so well! We all know what we're going through. In the trenches together!