I have a dark secret I don’t tell most people…I write.
If someone does find out (which happens from time to time), it becomes one of the most awkward and uncomfortable conversations to have. I’m usually met with skepticism (“you’re writing a novel?”) and sometimes even suspicion. I don’t understand that part. It’s as if people don’t know how to talk to me now that they know “I write.” Like it changes who I am or more specifically their idea of who I should be.
There are, of course, the inevitable questions. What do you write? Where do you get ideas? Why do you write?
I recently had a kind of embarrassing experience when a group of people I just met found out that I write. It shouldn’t have been embarrassing, but I didn’t know how to handle the questions.
I started a new job a couple of months ago and the weekend after the second week was my writing group’s annual conference. Of course I got the inevitable question about plans for the weekend, so I told one of my co-workers. She was…shocked, I guess is the best word to describe it. It was obvious that the idea of going to a writing workshop was something completely foreign to her. And honestly, I could tell that she thought it was just really strange. But I got through the conversation, it was just one person.
Then the next Monday after the workshop my whole department ate lunch together and once I again I got the question about my weekend and my co-worker told everyone about the workshop. I don’t know if I can adequately describe how uncomfortable it was to have everyone peppering me with questions. I usually try to avoid answering questions about a specific project I’m working on, but it’s hard with six people all staring at you waiting for an answer. So I gave them the bare bones, I focused on the fact that it is set in Grand Haven. I work in Grand Haven and most of the people I work with live near there, so I thought that might be an interesting little tidbit. It almost seemed to offend them.
Then the judgement really amped up. What are you planning to do with it? Are you actually going to try to get published? How much time do you spend writing? Does your husband mind?
If I had said I knitted I wouldn’t have gotten this response.
Do you run into situations similar to this when people find out you’re a writer? Do you ever avoid telling people?
I guess I don’t understand where the suspicion comes from. So for now, I’ll just keep it to myself. Maybe I’ll bring it up again if I ever get published. That’ll show ’em.