OLD POST ALERT! This is an older post and although you might find some useful tips, any technical or publishing information is likely to be out of date. Please click on Start Here on the menu bar above to find links to my most useful articles, videos and podcast. Thanks and happy writing! – Joanna Penn
Why do we shrink away from claiming the word writer when people ask what we do? Louise Wise discusses why in this guest article.
Is it after publication? Or when you’re submitting to agents? Maybe, you believe you’re a writer when you’ve, er, written. Anything. Something.
It’s a heated discussion.
I’ve written three books, and yet I STILL don’t call myself a writer. When I’m sitting in the hairdresser’s chair and my neck is being warmed by the stylist’s bosom and she asks, ‘What do you do?’
I mumble automatically ‘I’m a pharmacist technician.’
My days spent slogging away on my laptop, yelling at the kids for quiet, and moaning at my husband for ‘not understanding’ have completely slipped my mind. And I’ve left the hairdressers with nice bouncy curls but also kicking myself for not revealing my true vocation.
Why can’t I, and many of us, admit that we write?
I’ll tell you why. It’s the comments we get that we can’t deal with. You know the kind:
‘I could write a book if I had the time.’
‘You lucky thing! Wish I could stay home all day writing.’
‘You? But you’re as thick as a plank.’ Not that one? Just me then. Anyway, those are the main questions we are thrown. The other, complimentary ones, I equally squirm over. But that’s me. I don’t know how to take compliments, so the ‘OMG! Have you really! How clever of you! That’s amazing!’ make me prefer the former comments.
It’s because we’re introverted. Many writers are. We’re at one with our thoughts, and before I get all poetic and teary, let me tell you a story.
Stan was an ordinary guy, working in an ordinary job with an ordinary wife and ordinary kids. You could say his world was a grey sort of colour. Dull. He expected nothing, and got nothing.
One day his ordinary wife came home from the supermarket with a flyer.
The flyer said: First the dream, then the work, then the conclusion. If you don’t dream, you’ll never conclude.
It was a flyer for a gym, which Mrs Ordinary chucked in the bin because she was ordinary and didn’t think the gym was for middle-aged women like her, but nevertheless Stan was struck by the words. So struck that that night he dreamed of being promoted at work, and when he woke, he wanted the promotion SO much. It made him work harder. He pushed himself and began doing things he’d not have dreamed of doing before. He began to LIKE his job.
One day, he admitted to his wife that he wanted to be promoted and she confessed in return that she’d joined the gym, and that there were other middle-aged ordinary looking women there too! They made a pact to one another not to just dream but to WORK for their dream.
Stan got his promotion—it took five long years but he got there in the end. Mrs Ordinary left Stan for her fitness instructor, but hey, not all dreams turn out like you expect!
The moral of the story?
Dreams are a long painful slog for you to make into reality. But BELIEVE in them, admit them and above all SHARE them. So tell your hairdresser you’re a writer!
Do you talk about being a writer? or do you keep it quiet? Please share in the comments below.
About the Author
Louise used her general love of romantic fiction and interest in astronomy to write her first book, Eden. She had received many rejections, which stated that the novel was just too original for the current market. An agent took it on but failed to find a publisher for it, this urged Louise into believing in herself as a writer.
Since then she believes she has found her niche with romantic comedy.
Her books include: Eden, A Proper Charlie and non-fiction So You Want an Author Platform? And newly released, The Fall of the Misanthrope: I bitch, therefore I am.
Top image: Flickr CC / nicole.pierce.photography ♥