Saturday, 21 April 2012

S is for Secret

Welcome to letter "S" in my series "26 Things that Made Me a Writer". Sorry this is so late. What can I say? It's Saturday... and I have been somewhat busy. I do like "S" words, as you may surmise from my blog title, for the sibilant sounds... OK, I'll stop and get into today's subject.

It's the second time in as many days that I've changed my mind on what to write about at the last minute. I was slightly putting off writing the original idea because I felt it was pretty similar to a post I read not long ago. Then it hit me... us writers are a secretive bunch, aren't we?

I think pretty much every one of us relishes the chance to escape from humdrum life into a world that's of our own making, stories and ideas that belong to us and no one else. Certainly I enjoy walking down the street and past people that have no idea of what's going on in my head.

And of course this is a paradox because at the same time I want to share exactly that, in fact desperately wish at times that other people were as immersed in it as I. But I think of those people as a general, somewhat faceless public and not necessarily those I see on a daily basis. Even if I was published I'd like to keep my anonymity as I'd feel embarrassed walking around as some kind of celebrity. I wouldn't want to stand out.

I feel awkward just talking about my work to those that know me well. On the blog it's a bit different as I'm amongst those whom I consider my peers. But it's still a very scary feeling for me to share anything.

So, do you think of your work as a secret? How do you think this would change if you were published? If you are published, I'd love to know your opinion. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

25 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I am published and as you've probably noticed, even online I keep a low profile. Most of my family and friends know I'm an author, but I don't broadcast it. And now it's not that I don't want to share my imaginary world as I don't want my real, personal life invaded.

Elise Fallson said...

I've kept my writing secret for the most part. Very few people off line know I write and those that do believe it's just a pass time. If I ever get published I'd certainly use a nom de plume.

L.G.Smith said...

You've hit on something very real here. Many, many times I find myself saying nothing about my writing when asked what I do. Even with people who know I write, I don't go into much detail about what I'm working on or what my aspirations are. I hold that very close to the vest.

Tobi Summers said...

I'm the same way. There are a handful of people I'll talk to about my work, but everyone has an opinion, and most things are still so raw that I'm not ready to hear them. I feel like other writers (either online or in person) understand that better.

Chuck said...

Not being a writer I still tend to be self-conscious when I am writing anything. I don't even like anyone standing next to me or reading over my shoulder. But my neurosis comes more from the need to keep my written word underwraps until it is ready to present. Perfected if you will. And yet that's the rub, it never is perfect enough for me and if I were to go back and read any of my past posts from day one...I would find some reason to re-write them all! I guess I envy you professional writers because at some point you have to say...this is it, it's done.

Now I have to re-read this comment a dozen times to make sure it's perfect...

Lynda R Young said...

Even though I have short stories published, I still shy from telling people irl that I'm a writer. lol. I need to stop that ;)

Shelley Sly said...

It's funny, on one hand I'd love for my work to be read, and on the other, I get all shy when somebody asks to read it. I say something along the lines of, "Uh, yeah, sure... sometime soon."

S.P. Bowers said...

It's hard. I used to be much more secretive. I've opened up to my family and find it's kind of a relief to talk about it to them. Now most of my friends know I write though I don't go into the details. They wouldn't understand even if I told them. I agree that it's a little different on a blog then in person. I'm much more open with blogging friends.

Trisha said...

I do get a bit awkward when people want to know about my writing, 'cause the way I describe it doesn't sound that exciting sometimes. ;) Also, I'm torn with 's' words because sometimes I have a bit of a liissssp, but usually I can control it and not have a lisp. It's weird ;) In some of my recorded songs you can hear a lisp, and in others I've got things more under control and there's no lisssp.

kmckendry said...

Most of my colleagues at work have no idea I write. For some reason I feel weird about telling them.

Susan Oloier said...

Oh, I know how you feel. I actually blush when people ask me about my writing. I've recently published, and find it very hard to openly talk about my writing, though I know I have to if I want to promote myself or come across as an "actual writer".

Cynthia said...

I don't talk about my author ambitions as much as I used to with non-writers...unless it just happens to come up. I do appreciate all the genuine questions directed to my craft (e.g. "Why aren't you published yet?" "You're still working on that book?") but sometimes I'd rather not have that same conversation over and over again.

C.B. Wentworth said...

For a long time, I kept my writing life a secret. However, when I started writing a novel it was getting tough to explain why I was always at the bookstore. After sharing my little project, I found the encouragement from others to be very motivating.

icedgurl said...

trekking your blog!!! i'm not a writer but i work with financials. secret for confidentiality?!

cheers!
..TREK..

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I find it difficult to talk about what I'm writing. Especially if a non-writer asks me what my novel is about, I usually say I'm still in the process, I don't like to talk about it during the draft part, it's always changing, etc. I feel bad because it's nice that they're interested but I can't open up that space to the public, not yet - it's too soon.

MimiTabby said...

The more paintings I sell the better I feel about being an artist. It's terrible but true.
It's tough for writers nowadays because there are far less small opportunities to be published. You have to write a book and get it published, and that is like the holy grail. Good luck.

Mimi Torchia Boothby Watercolors

Damyanti said...

I'm published---but I keep my writing very low profile in my real life..don't have the energy to enter into discussions surrounding the writing life.

Nick Wilford said...

Alex - You've done a good job of being out there with your books and keeping your personal life separate.

Elise - I'm the same, most people think it's just something I do in my spare time. It's so much more than that!

L.G. - Yeah, it's easier to say I'm a househusband. Saying I'm a writer takes too much explaining and you get awkward questions.

Tobi - Other writers definitely understand better (like all of you!) I don't know any in real life, though.

Chuck - I don't think any writer ever thinks anything's perfect. (Or if they do, something's wrong). Like you though, I don't like sharing anything until it's as good as I can make it.

Lynda - I've had stories published too and I'm the same. It's an odd condition, isn't it?

Shelley - I think it is easier for someone to read it who I don't know personally.

S.P. - It's slightly easier for me because my wife has written a book and has studied literature at degree level. She's my best critic. But yeah, with friends and other family, it's very general.

Trisha - I never describe things very well and it never sounds as good as I think it is! Enjoyed your lisp story. :)

Nick Wilford said...

Kathy - I feel weird about telling people too. It shouldn't be that way!

Susan - If I ever do get published I don't know how it'll affect me, hopefully it'll feel more valid! Good luck with your promotion. :)

Cynthia - Oh yeah those questions are very annoying, as well as "So you're going to be the next JK Rowling?" As if that's the only author anyone knows, grrr!

C.B. - Glad you've had some good encouragement!

Icedgurl - I can understand the confidentiality thing. Maybe I could use that when someone asks me about my work!

Madeline - It feels awkward to me too, probably because it's all so personal when you're at the draft stage and you're still working it out yourself.

Mimi - Thanks. You're a great artist so you should be proud! :)

Damyanti - I know what you mean - it's hard explaining things all the time.

Tara Tyler said...

only other writers will truly understand the process. its no secret but it isnt discussed much...we deal with a lot of rejection and i think thats a big part of others not getting why we do it!

Angeline Trevena said...

Perhaps I'm a bit of a show-off, but I don't keep it secret at all! I love seeing my name in print, which is why I say I'd never write under a pen name.

J.L. Campbell said...

I hardly ever talk to people about my books. What often happens is that I get accused of not telling people about my books once they find out about them.

Nicole said...

Really liked your paragraph about escaping as you're walking down the street - so true.

Nick Wilford said...

Tara - Yeah, working at something for many years and not getting any money but lots of knockbacks is hard to understand, I guess. :)

Angeline - Don't get me wrong - I do like seeing my name in print! I want to use my own name because I want to be recognised. It's just that on the way to that point, I am a bit selfconscious just because I don't have much to show for it yet.

J.L. - Haha - well, I guess they should just pay more attention!

Nicole - Thanks!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Nick .. I have an M in my head .. eg a MMMM I'm thinking kind of M and a Mulling kind of M. I know I'd love to do something with the posts - people keep saying write a book, put into a book format - and with space I probably would .. but for now, as my mother lives on I need to be free and not concentrating on too much else. However I have time to 'look' at opportunities and ideas - all good for the mill and grist of life ..

So - secret it is for now!! Cheers enjoy the S that is saturday .. Hilary