If you’re an unpublished author (like me) then you may or may not tell others that you write. I almost never tell others that I write because it inspires a touch of (oh so unnecessary) hollywood excitement in people. They have so many questions: What’s the title of your book? (There’s always an assumption that you’ve written a book, why doesn’t anyone ask whether I wrote a magazine article, or whether I author how-to manuals for kitchen appliances?). What’s it about, they want to know, and the dreaded, ‘Can I read what you’re working on now’?
It’s so hard to explain why that book I told you about last year was never published or how I edited it into a completely different story 6 months ago. Let’s face it, there’s nothing to brag about if you’re unpublished because you’re not recognized as official. You’re considered fair game to anyone’s critique or suggestions because you’re not yet a ‘real’ writer. It’s a raw, unwelcome vulnerability in my little world.
Consider the woman (me) that refuses to sleep naked for fear of the intruder (keep reading, there’s a connection, I promise). Am I afraid he will point out the obvious fact that I’ve been skipping a few workouts in lieu of an ice cream break? Maybe. Or is it that I can’t imagine doing my best Charlie’s Angels inspired karate kick with the nooks and crannies of my body that live in darkness being exposed to the light of day? Maybe. Or is it that I fear that the night I’m visited by the intruder that gets away will be the night the hunka hunka of all hunks will be the officer on duty and I may blind him with the dimples and folds on my body that are meant to be properly restrained (thank you, Spanx!). Maybe. It’s all of these things (in a way) because they are all the same fear. The fear of being caught in absolute vulnerability. Aren’t we all afraid of that? Preparation gives us control and some amount of comfort.
Putting myself out there leaves me vulnerable to rejection, open for an attack. Attack from the future reader, publisher, agent or knight in shining armor because I wasn’t properly prepared.
When I am a published author I will scream it from every social network I can find (yes, family members, maybe I’ll even get a facebook account) but until then I have to remain in control of my exposure if for no other reason than to allow myself the hope I need to keep writing because right now I can handle the rejections of agents and editors but the rejection from my loved ones might be more than I can take.
So, this is for all aspiring writers that hesitate to answer proudly, ‘I’m an author’, when asked what you do. It’s ok. Surround yourself with other writers and sources of inspiration. This is your time of preparation and when (and if) the time is right for you to, you will call yourself a writer and simply hand someone your latest hardbound work of art when they ask, ‘What do you do?’
Hang in there!