Check out the others posting on the IWSG at this link...
As a writer I spend a vast amount of my time alone, sharing my thoughts only with my computer. I have a life and some friends that I can talk to occasionally about those things only my computer knows. But I talk about writing, the actual mechanics and work of it, with them less and less. Only a few (and my hubby) have let me know they don’t mind the boring details. I find I tend to discuss that part of the writing life with other writers who don’t look at me like I have two heads when I get off on a tangent. So, thinking of my IWSG post this month, I realize I’ve cut back on sharing what I do with those who ask (perhaps only to be polite, which I do appreciate), and that I’ve started sharing more with my blogger buds. Being on two different blog hops a month provides me with an outlet, or should I say, inlet to others who understand what I do and how it feels.
A friend of mine read the original of this post (which evidently wasn’t so great) and shared with me a point I hadn't thought of, that she, and others of my friends, might take offense at how I wrote about not talking writing with people who are not "writers." I am blessed to have such a friend. That she would share with me her hurt (even angry!) feelings, because I wasn't clear on what I meant, and so my words wounded.
Which got me thinking of two things: how to write better (duh) and why I wrote what I did.
I realized that I have started to resent acquaintances asking, "How's the writing going?" because it feels like they think it’s just a hobby of mine, something I do to pass the time. I don't know how to answer that question (Maybe they don't know how to ask it?). Most folks don't really want any answer but, "fine," and I've started feeling protective of myself, so I guess my resentment came through in that first draft of this post. I have changed it because I don't feel that way about my FRIENDS. I don't want them to stop asking.
Because to me this isn't a hobby. It's how I hope someday to make my living. I don't ask a grocer, or a printer or a dentist "how's business?" usually, especially in a social setting. I don't know. It just irks when I can't really tell them "how the writing is going." Which part? What do you mean? Do you really want to know or will a “fine” do for you? Perhaps it’s because I have yet to make my living doing this. Perhaps I’m insecure and that makes me resent being reminded that I haven’t sold a million books. I don’t really know yet. All I do know, is I am thankful to have friends who call me out when I make a mistake. I don’t want to do that one ever again.
Am I off the wall about this? Does anyone else feel protective of their writing space when folks ask a question like that? Anyone have any great replies that would make answering more fun?
I do think that sometimes the question, "How's the writing going?" in a social setting is a little bit like "How ya doing?" The asker wants a short upbeat answer. In those cases I usually oblige by giving a sentence description on what I've been doing lately. So my latest response is something like this: "I'm trying to get an agent's attention on my latest book, a fictionalized account about three girls who get kidnapped at the local mall and sold into the sex trafficking industry."
I also find that sometimes the people who ask do seem to be humoring me. Like I am a child pursuing a dream that is cute, but not realistic. All I can do to combat that is to act like a professional and vow that one day they'll realize how wrong they were to underestimate me!
But seriously, we love what we do, right? And everyone else aside, it's the allure of words that keeps us coming back to face our computers. So, at the end of the day, if I'm happy with my progress, that's what really matters.
You're lucky to have friends you can talk to about your craft and a supportive husband. And of course, on-line writing friends are a Godsend! Good luck to you!
December co-host of IWSG
I agree with you! Thanks for coming by Kim, and for co-hosting this month!Delete
I left a comment hours ago...was it hijacked?!?ReplyDelete
It's here! And I loved it. Thanks so much for checking back!!! Love your photo by the way!Delete
well if not for friends to point out your mistakes in a good way then who else? :DReplyDelete
Yes! That's why I love her!Delete
It could be they're really curious. Let's face it, creating characters and worlds is far more intriguing than most other professions. Most people like the fact that they know an author, it's an interesting profession--an unbelievably tough one that deserves respect and admiration, regardless of whether you're a bestseller.ReplyDelete
I so agree Sam. Your point has hit home for me and I realize, as I said to Alex, that when asked, I tend to hide instead of saying whatever I want and getting excited regardless of WHY they asked me!Delete
I know how you feel. People who aren't really close to you are being polite and probably not expecting much of an answer. Some probably don't want an answer. Your friends said you can talk to them, and you know you can talk about it with the writers here online!ReplyDelete
Thanks Alex. That's why I love this blog and thank you for creating it for us. I really like knowing I'm not alone. I'm also realizing through all the comments and posts on all the different blogs, that I'm pretty sure I feel insecure in selling myself/my books and that is why the questions catch me out. I feel my insecurities at that precise moment a bit too much and instead of enjoying and saying whatever I want anyway, I hide.Delete
Hi Lisa - it's that interim period, when we're beavering away doing something - but others have no clue what.ReplyDelete
Tasha of "Of Shoes and Ships and Sealing Wax" wrote recently about 'what's in a name' .. link below - I rather like the idea: I'm on Sabbatical ... applied to me as someone changing direction in life ... and I'm sure others who are younger! and writers .. .
But everyone reacts similarly when I say I'm blogging .. I must remember Tasha's idea ..
Well now my blog has helped a researcher in Cape Town get in touch with a distant relative of my mother's .. who is considered a heroine for the work she did in South Africa over 100 years ago. Small world - but now I feel I can say .. my blog helped Jenny and the journalist get together for some research ..
But bloggers do understand don't they!
Cheers - I'm working on new projects ... Hilary
So excited that you're working on new projects, and I loved hearing how your blogging helped Jenny and the journalist! How cool is that? Thanks also for the link. I'm going there right now...Delete
Yep, with you on that - although sometimes I think it's me reading something into a comment that isn't actually meant the way my head converts it! Umm, insecure writer? Looks like I'm definitely in the right group LOLReplyDelete
Suzanne @ Suzannes Tribe
Suzanne, you are so right on the money for me. I think that's really what it comes down to, insecurity!Delete
You are not off the wall with this idea, and I don't know if it gets better. Now people ask me, "How are book sales going?" It's so embarrassing to have to say I don't know because I only get a report ever 6 months. Then I get all defensive for myself and my publisher. *sigh*ReplyDelete
I think as writers we just have to calm down and realize that while some people are just being polite (maybe they don't know what else to talk to us about?) others may really be interested. How do we know though?
This is so nice, to have other writers weighing in on this. It is something we learn to live with. Thanks for coming by and commenting Charity!Delete
I've got friends who don't even ask me how my writing's going. But then again, they don't ask how my day job's going either, so I don't take it personally. I just know that all my friends, including blogger ones, are in different categories. And actually, I'm happy with answering 'fine' - sometimes I don't want to share!ReplyDelete
I agree Annalisa. After I wrote this, since it is the holiday season I've been going to social events and had people ask and I've actually been able to tell the ones who really want to know and so adjusted my response accordingly. I feel lighter about it now!Delete
I can work out if somebody is asking in a "humouring me" tone or in an interested manner. Just watch the eyes and body language, which speak volumes...ReplyDelete
And I agree that sometimes people just want a non-committal type of answer, like "fine".
Writer In Transit
Yep. Writing this really helped me focus and realize I had a choice in the matter... Thanks for coming by Michelle.Delete
I just say "great". People don't really want details. They think they're being supportive by asking how the writing is going.ReplyDelete
Yes, I'm so glad to know I'm not the only one out there learning what to do with this! Thanks for coming y Diane!Delete
You're not off the wall at all. I feel the same way. I don't mention that I'm writing anything because then they want to know how soon it will be done. I have no idea when I'll be finished and I'm in no rush to get there.ReplyDelete
Elsie, ever since I wrote this it's like I'm being tested to see what I've learned, and I think I've learned quite a bit now. Hearing what you all say, and the social occasions that are all over the place during the holidays has given me ample time to decide when to say what. I'm glad you came by and commented. Thanks!Delete
I really don't like people asking me how my writing is going. Not even when it's going good. I just get awkward because I know I can't get into it the way I want to because the person asking isn't looking for an indepth answer. Mostly they want to know am I writing a book and to tell me they can't wait to read it.ReplyDelete
Yes, that's me as well. I do want them to want to read it, and so I'm learning to customize my responses! Thanks for coming by Patricia!Delete