Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Double Life

I think many writers suffer from a fear of exposure.  What do I mean?  Well, what do you say when you're writing in public and people ask you what you're doing?  It's just awkward.  "I'm writing a novel."  

Oh.  Insert uncomfortable silence here.

Probably a select few of my friends know that I write.  I think sometimes we have the urge to tell everyone about our novel and have them be as excited about it as we are, which doesn't make much sense.  It's not their project, after all.  They have no idea what writing entails.  Then, you end up living a pseudo-double life, where your writing suddenly seems like an eccentric secret quirk at best, a hidden shame at worst.

Maybe some of you don't encounter this problem because you write at home.  I almost always have to write in a populated public place, so this happens a lot.  More than you would expect, actually.  It sounds...pretentious?...to say I'm a writer.  I'm not published.  It makes my habit sound less legit.  Still, every published author started out unpublished at some point, so I am learning to accept what I do as a part of my life.

What about you?


  1. I've written so much, and even self-published before, that people tend to just ask me what I'm writing these days--they've accepted it's a habit and a dream.

    Whenever someone new asks me, though, I do try to avoid the question. I rarely say "novel," referring instead to "a story." Regardless, it's difficult then to avoid the "what about?" question.

    Double life it is.

    Great post!!

  2. Great post. I especially like the part that everyone starts at the same place. I've been lucky in that my family pretty much accepts and supports my writing, and most of my friends are writers. But you're right, I find I don't really feel comfortable bringing it up with friends who don't write. :D

  3. Great post.
    None of my friends know I write. My sisters do, but I'd disown them (not really) if they ever told a soul.
    I feel like nobody would take me seriously if I told them, or they'd want to know about it, asking questions (well-meaning, of course) and wanting to know what I was working on.
    I feel conflicted though because there have been so many times I've wanted to tell someone, especially my best friend and...well, I chickened out.
    So yeah, I'm very familiar with the double life thing.

  4. LOL, my dad keeps asking me when my book's getting published. *sigh* It's a difficult business to be an amateur in, because no one takes you seriously.

    Yes, I have a double life, and no, I don't want to talk about it. ;)

  5. My good friends and my family know I write, but they've rarely read anything I've written, unless they're lurking online and found something of mine by accident. I'm always embarrassed to let someone I know read my creative writing.

    When I get caught writing in public (mostly in classes), I usually just lie and say it's my journal or notes or something. I like talking about my writing to other writers, but not to anyone else.

  6. My close friends know I write; my family knows I like to write. Only some of my friends have read my writing. Definitely feel you on the double-life thing. I actually do encounter this problem when I write at home because sometimes I feel like I have to hide it because really I'm supposed to be looking for a job - one that actually has an income that is. :P

  7. I was at a play date this morning and the other moms were sort of shocked to hear that I'm an aspiring novelist. I'm trying really hard not to care or not to belittle myself because really writing a novel is an accomplishment in and of itself. Of course, I have daily fantasies of how amazing it will be when I can tell people "Yeah, I'm a writer our book is being published in 2010 by this kickass publishing company." Someday...

  8. All my friends know I write, a lot of my colleagues too. They appreciate it's a lot of hard work, especially those who have been students. So I'm pretty fortunate to have my friends' suppot.