The secret writer.

The secret writer: an artist's impression

The secret writer: an artist’s impression

I’ve always been a bit cagey about my writing. When I’m drafting something, I don’t let anyone read my work, mostly because all first drafts suck. At least, this is what other writers tell me, and I’m clinging to it as a basic fact of the universe. Like atoms and dark matter and the fact you can’t get a car park at the mall two days before Christmas.

At first I wouldn’t even talk to my loved ones about my novel, so sure was I the whole thing was going to be an abject failure—although I’m starting to get over that now. Several of my nearest and dearest have now read my (edited) manuscript and given me excellent feedback. And recently—because you should never trust your nearest and dearest to be honest with you, even though I think (hope!) mine were—I also sent it to a lovely girl named Blue, who I met on Twitter. She’s giving it a beta read for me. (If you have Twitter, you should follow her: @jordonchynna).

All this feedback—especially from people who don’t love you—is important for a healthy manuscript that doesn’t make you want to throw up into your mouth. But remember, I’m a secret writer. I only gave myself permission to call myself a writer after I’d finished my first manuscript. Before that I was just a girl with a weird, reclusive habit that her boyfriend was kind enough to support.

So what is the point of this ramble? When I created my blog and put up that first post, I went to link it on my personal Facebook page, so that all my friends could read it if they wanted to. It’s the sensible thing to do, right? I’ve read marketing blogs and stuff; it was reading Bad Redhead Media that got me onto Twitter in the first place. It’s all about the non-spammy promotion and cross-promotion, and blahblahblah.

So I dutifully pasted the link onto my Facebook status, and wrote some words to go with it … and then I fiddled with the privacy settings so that only those who already know I’ve been writing could see it. I chickened out. Feel free to make clucking chicken noises at me.

Ok, you can stop now…

Sharing that I’ve written a novel with all those old friends and colleagues feels a bit like the idea of a high school reunion: the only way I want to go to that badly decorated function hall and eat lukewarm buffet food is if I can hold my head high and  show everyone what a massive success I am. With my fancy car and diamonds on the souls of my shoes or whatever. Except that in this case I have no excuse because the people I’m friends with on Facebook are not the bitchy girls that picked on me in school.

It could be because I am an introvert, or it could just be that I’ve always been a secret writer and old habits die hard. I know I need to get over it. It’s on my list of things to do. Maybe as a new year’s resolution. At the end of 2013. Maybe.

Are you a secret writer or is your writing something you’re open about? And if you’re a secret writer but got over it, how did you do it?

7 Comments on “The secret writer.”

  1. Chynna-Blue says:

    Eeee, you mentioned me! You have no reason to chicken out. You are a great writer with great ideas,Cassandra, and your blog is hilarious. People should know that! (: I probably should be more secretive in case I fail terribly but I shout my writing from the rooftops! It’s fun! 😛

  2. pippajay says:

    I’m the latter. I started off posting the odd paragraph to my Facebook page, met a few fantastic people – some of them writers themselves – and gradually gaining the confidence to post more with their support and encouragement. It’s taken a couple of years and getting a contract with a small press for me to be open about it and actually declare myself as an author – even now I stumble over the word when telling a stranger what I do. It’s just taking little steps and nudging yourself out of your comfort zone a bit at a time. 🙂

    • In my mind an author is someone whose work is available for people to read (without the author having to directly send them a file). A writer is anyone that has finished a project. I’m not sure what to call the people who talk about writing but never do it. 😉

      • pippajay says:

        Yep, which is why I called myself a writer rather than an author until my book was out. But even then, I didn’t come right out and say it. Hmmm, maybe they’re aspiring writers? Wannabe writers? To me, if you write anything, you’re a writer, but you actually have to put meaningful words down on paper/computer. Just saying them isn’t enough. 😛

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