Deja Vu Blogfest

Today, thanks to inspiration from DL Hammons, Katie Mills (Creepy Query Girl), Lydia Kang, and Nicole Ducleroir, I give you my post for the…

This post is from September, 2010. I was just beginning the first draft of the manuscript that eventually landed me Agent Vickie, and I was clearly going through a bit of an identity crisis. I like this post, though, because most of us have been in this place of uncertainty and insecurity, and it makes me feel like I’ve grown up a bit. I also like The Family Guy clip at the end. 🙂

I have to admit, I’m something of a closeted writer. Other than my online writing friends, only my closest family members know that I’ve written a few stories and am in the process of seeking representation for my work.

Don’t get me wrong: My writing isn’t a secret, exactly. I have a blog (obviously) and a Twitter account. If someone were so inclined they could Google me and they’d know all about what I’ve been up to. But, I don’t really like to bring my writing up in conversation. It just doesn’t feel REAL yet. I talk to my husband (at length!) about my projects and querying and submissions, but he’s really the only one.  

Part of it is that I feel a little pretentious and a lot insecure telling  people I’m a writer. Inevitably, their next questions is, “What have you written?” Well, I’ve written a lot of stuff, but you can’t buy it. It’s not in the hands of any publishers yet. I don’t even have an agent. In fact, I’m still incredibly early in the process.

And then there’s that weird obligation to update the people who ARE in the know, which at this point is a lot of, “She asked for a partial,” or “He requested the full,” or “She passed.” It’s all exciting for ME (well, except when they pass), but to anyone else, it probably seems that all I do is a lot of emailing, then waiting… and waiting… and waiting.  

I know I’m a writer. It’s what I’ve spent the last few years consumed by and stressed over and excited about. Pretty much every emotion in between, actually. I know I’ll continue to write, even if it takes years to meet my goal of publication. But at what point do you get to CALL yourself a writer? When your first manuscript is complete? Or when you land an agent? The day you sign your first book deal? Or maybe on release day, when your literary baby is born into the world?

When did you come out as a writer to your friends and family? (And is being out better or worse that being in hiding?) 

An aside: I do not watch The Family Guy (I actually don’t watch any cartoons, ever, unless they’re stamped with the Disney seal of approval), however my husband and younger brother are big fans. In fact, my brother and I have a running joke involving Stewie (the baby) and Brian (the dog and aspiring novelist). Just about every time we talk he asks me (in very exaggerated, Stewie-esque tones) about my novel and protagonist and whether my story has a beginning, middle and end. Check out the clip below… it never fails to makes me laugh. 🙂

Now wasn’t that little blast from the past fun? Please do visit the Deja Vu Blogfest headquarters to check out the rest of the under-appreciated but awesome posts!

Looking for more blogfest fun? Why not check out the one I’m co-hosting with Jessica LoveTracey Neithercott, and Alison Miller? The Class of 2011: YA Superlative Blogfest is a fun and interactive way to highlight and share your favorite YA novels, covers, characters, and story elements published in 2011. It will span four days, beginning Tuesday, December 27th and culminating Friday, December 30th. Click on the banner below to find out more and to sign up!


36 thoughts on “Deja Vu Blogfest

  1. Alison Miller says:

    We are seriously twins. I have been there. I’m there right now. It’s tough becuase now some of my students know that I write and they’re all like “Why aren’t you published yet?” It’s so hard not to feel like a complete loser in the face of that question. I know the answer, but it’s hard to explain it to them.

    I loved your blast from the past, Katy! Thanks for sharing! Oh, and I’m totally going back to my post and advertising our blogfest. SO EXCITED!!!

    • katyupperman says:

      It is SO hard to explain the publishing drama (especially the odds and the sloooooow pace) to outsiders! It seems many people think the moment you type THE END, Walmart and Target are going to begin stocking your book. Craziness. Glad I’m not alone, Alison!

  2. Ciara Knight says:

    I think hiding is easier. I’m kind of shy in real life. I didn’t come out as a writer until I landed my first agent.
    Congratulations on all your success, Katy.

  3. Sophia Richardson says:

    I’m where you were when you wrote this. I write, I have a blog and a Twitter account where I talk about being a writer, but I’m not walking around with a big ‘Writer’ badge stuck on my chest. I don’t consider myself in hiding anymore, though. I used to worry about it, but now it’s just one more thing that makes up my personality/life, and I don’t feel the need to tell everyone, the same way I don’t tell everyone that I’m a big reader. It’s just something I do.

    However, if I meet an amazing guy in a bookstore and he wants to talk books and writing, all hell will break loose. So cool to see how far you’ve come since you first posted this!

    • katyupperman says:

      Where can I get one of those WRITER badges? Because I TOTALLY need one! And here’s to you meeting an amazing guy in a bookstore, Sophia. Talk about every bibliophile’s dream match!

  4. Rebecca B says:

    This post is deja vu for how I used to feel (and sometimes still do)! I am much more open with people about my writerly life than I used to be, but I still kind of hate responding to simple questions on what’s up. Things happen so slowly, at every stage, and it’s hard to communicate that to people who aren’t in part of the industry.

    Congrats on everything that has happened since the original post!

    • katyupperman says:

      As I mentioned to Alison, you just don’t GET IT unless you’re immersed in the publishing world. The odds are horrible and the pace is glacial. Sometimes I think we’re all a bit nutty to throw our hats in the ring, frankly! 🙂

  5. Allison says:

    Thank you for this post. I am around the same place you are. When I say I’m a writer, people say “So… Had anything published?” It does take time, courage, and hard work.

    • katyupperman says:

      I totally get that, Allison. And then you feel like a big old failure when you have to say, “Nope, nothing published yet. Fingers crossed!” Here’s to LOTS of courage and hard work! 🙂

  6. Heather Day Gilbert says:

    Yes, I’m in those shoes. I finally listed “Writer” as my “job” on Facebook, since it does take up tons of my life (as my family/friends are well aware). Might as well OWN IT! Glad you have an agent–I’m hoping to be in those shoes soon, too! Nice to Deja-Vu you!

    • katyupperman says:

      Thanks for stopping by, Heather! And now I’m curious about what I have listed at as my “Job” on Facebook… probably: Stay-at-Home-Mom. Though I LOVE that job, I might just change it to WRITER like you!

  7. Krispy says:

    I needed to read this post. I’ve been feeling exactly like this lately, and it’s always so hard to keep it sorta secret when words are coming out of my pores but I know most people just don’t get it. So thanks for the solidarity!

    Excited to be part of the Superlatives Blogfest!

    • katyupperman says:

      We’re excited to have you as part of the Superlatives Blogfest!

      Isn’t it funny how so many of us feel the same way, but don’t always realize how NOT alone we are? Thank goodness for blogs and Twitter. Reading about the experiences and emotions of other aspiring authors makes me feel like less of a crazy person. 🙂

  8. Rida says:

    I totally get what you meant at that point. I suppose you’ve told a lot more people since you landed your agent? Do you still get flustered when somebody asks, “So, what have you written?” I dread that question, because then I wonder what really DOES make a real writer. Is it when you love words enough to make stories out of them? Or… yeah. Exactly what you said in that post.

    Also, THAT CLIP. I love Stewie.

    • katyupperman says:

      I have told more people now that I have an agent. I suppose having representation gives me a slight sense of validation, though I’m by no means completely confident in my journey and place in this process! And yes, it is sort of uncomfortable to explain to people that I haven’t actually sold any of my writing yet… Fingers crossed though… I always follow up with that. 🙂

  9. Lydia K says:

    That cartoon was priceless, absolutely priceless.
    I told people that I was very close with that I write. I kept it to myself otherwise until I got an agent and a book deal. I needed that validation. Oddly, I don’t feel that way about other writers. I guess I’m more insecure about myself than I am about my writing friends’ talent!

    Thanks so much for joining the Blogfest!

    • katyupperman says:

      “I needed that validation. Oddly, I don’t feel that way about other writers. I guess I’m more insecure about myself than I am about my writing friends’ talent!”

      That’s so me too! I need to feel like I’ve hit certain benchmarks, but I don’t pay any attention to where anyone else is. In my head, we’re all just floating in the same boat. 🙂

      Glad you liked the cartoon!

  10. The Golden Eagle says:

    Only a handful of people know I write–I only talk to one person about writing with any regularity. I think it’s better than keeping it entirely to myself, since I can voice ideas to someone else and find potential issues in the process.

    • katyupperman says:

      Early in the process, I liked keeping my writing close too. I’ve found that the more time that passes, the more people I feel comfortable talking to about the journey. I definitely think it’s best to have at least ONE person to confide in, though. Otherwise, I think I would have gone batty!

  11. Sophia Chang says:

    That is my FAVORITE Family Guy clip…aside from “Bird is the Word,” of course (I’m super into Family Guy).

    I’ve totally blogged before about how I kind of hate talking about my writing to…well, anyone. lol

    Thanks so much for looking at Temenos! It means a lot that you found something in that poem.

    • katyupperman says:

      It is so hard to talk about writing with people who aren’t submerged in the publishing world. I think getting a book published sounds A LOT easier to the uninitiated than it actually is. Funny how quick you learn that that’s not exactly the case. 🙂

  12. Becky Povich says:

    Hi Katy! Great post! I didn’t realize I WAS a writer until I was almost 50 years old! (long story on that!) And I felt the same as you did, for a long time. I usually replied, “I’m a fledgling writer.” And then I worked my way up to actually saying IT, “I’m a writer.” I got the same question(s) you did. “What have you written?” “Oh, what book did you write?” ETC. After I had a couple of stories published in Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies, though, most people were really impressed, which kind of surprised me, but made me feel wonderful! ~~ Glad to meet you in this blogfest!

  13. DL Hammons says:

    I could almost copy this entire post and paste it into my own blog, our experiences are (were) so similar. I did come out of the closet and announce it to people I work with this year, and that was a big step for me!

    Thank you for re-posting this! It was such an excellent selection! 🙂

    • katyupperman says:

      Funny how once you “come out” as a writer, you realize that people (for the most part) are hugely supportive. Almost makes me wish I would have admitted to my writing aspirations earlier on.

      Thanks for hosting this fantastic blogfest, DL!

  14. Amie Kaufman says:

    I let a few people know I wrote early on — my family, my husband of course, a few friends. Then recently when WRECKED sold I had the experience of coming out to a huge number of friends, colleagues and members of my extended family — it was weird, and felt so exposing! That said, it was amazing to see how many people were psyched for me!

  15. commutinggirl says:

    That´s funny, I was thinking of asking the same question on my blog very soon because I am myself a writer in the closet.
    I have a blog and I tweet but not under my name (commutinggirl is really not my name :-)) A few of my friends are into my little secret (even two at work) and some family members also know about it. Otherwise, it´s just me, the computer and all the wonderful people I am chatting with on forums, on twitter and on my blog.
    I´ll come out eventually but I´m not ready yet.

    • katyupperman says:

      Wait… your name isn’t really Commutinggirl? I feel so decieved! 🙂 Come out when you’re ready, but definitely take advantage of the support you find online, and know that (in my experience, at least) people are usually quite impressed and supportive. Full of mostly unanswerable questions, but supportive!

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