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. 🙂