Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Concealing and revealing


In a recent post on her blog, Sally Jenkins asked how other writers respond to questions about their writing. I was a bit surprised, but relieved, to find I’m not the only one who hates talking about his or her work. Admitting that the story you think is your best ever has been rejected for the umpteenth time, or that no, your novel hasn’t been published yet because you’re still working on the second draft, all sounds so boring – especially to non-writers.

For many years, only my closest family knew I was writing, and if they embarrassed me by mentioning it to anyone else I always played it down. I’ve only had a few stories published. It’s just a hobby. I’m sure it’s not the sort of thing you’d be interested in reading, etc. etc.

These days, I do put ‘Writer’ on forms that ask for my occupation, but in social situations where I can’t hide behind a ‘proper’ job I’ll mumble something like, ‘Oh, I do a bit of writing.’ But then I change the subject as quickly as possible!

But when writers are asked about their reading it seems the opposite is true. The Alfie Dog Fiction blog – Alfie Dog Bites – is currently running a series of Writers on Reading and it’s obvious that the featured writers all love talking about other people’s writing.

Perhaps the next time I’m asked what I do, instead of saying I’m a writer I’ll say I’m a reader. That will be so much easier!



7 comments:

Patsy said...

Yes, it can be a bit embarressing talking about our writing to non writers. I usually assume people are asking in the same way as they ask after someone's health and reply with a vague mumble that everything is fine.

Suzanne Furness said...

Yes I know what you are saying, Linda. I feel myself shrinking at the thought!

Linda D said...

It seems as if it's an occupational hazard!

lizy-expat-writer said...

Totally agree - especially the bit about "nothing published yet". One almost feels ashamed of not having been recognised yet.

Annecdotist said...

It's difficult, isn't it? I find people want to be helpful but really don't/can't understand the ins and outs.
On a more positive note, at least I hope you'll see it that way, although take-up is optional, I've nominated you for the versatile blogger award. Full details in the link.

geofflepard said...

Hi Linda. Hope you don't mind me commenting. I have just the same itchy skin when asked. 'I'm writing' is the bit I manage. I have real difficulty with the 'I am a writer' piece because I know it will be followed by 'Oh what have you written? (meaning 'what have you had published?') and the mumbles and embarrassment grows. Thank you for sharing; it's always good to know some other poor souls are out there suffering similarly.

Linda D said...

Hi Geoff, of course I don't mind you commenting - it means I'm not just talking to myself! Pleased to meet you!