I’m a closet writer.
It started as just a whim. I was alone one night, by myself, there was a computer . . .
I’ve always had a vivid imagination. When I was younger, I would thump a tennis ball against the house with an old tennis racket – kind of a poor man’s racquetball. During this time I would make up stories and speak them aloud while making a poor attempt at furthering my non-existent professional tennis career. I also loved to read. I was a fairly fat kid, so I had a lot of time to devote to books.
I eventually went to college and majored in English, hoping to one day have a career as a writer. Of course, life happened. Well, frat parties and binge drinking happened, but whatever. I changed my major to nursing so that I could finish college early and move on with my life.
One day I sat at the computer and just started writing. 325 pages later, I had a poorly written novel that did garner a few full manuscript requests, but didn’t do much after that. But I couldn’t just let it go. Every morning I woke up with a story in my mind and knew I needed to write. With each novel I read, the desire to write became greater. I had stories, I had ideas, I just needed to put them to paper.
I wrote a few pages and submitted it to a couple of contests. This resulted in some interest and somehow between school, work, and children, I managed to finish a novel. In my wildest dreams I had pictured myself waltzing into the office and proclaiming that I would be quitting immediately to pursue my lucrative writing career. Of course, that’s not how writing works. Momma needs a day job if she plans on supporting her gratuitous purse habit. In my reality, I waltzed into the office and . . . chickened out for more than a week telling my coworkers.
Writing had been my secret. Not really a secret, but it just never came up amongst my mundane day to day conversations. “Pass the coffee. So, last night I wrote the most awkward love scene . . .” It just doesn’t work that way.
I did share my progress with my husband. After I told him I had received multiple full manuscript requests, he seemed unphased. Then the email came with the offer. I squealed and may have participated in some Tom Cruise-esque couch jumping and he seemed . . . unphased. I’m sure he’s happy for me, but I can’t help thinking he believes I’ve been victim to some publish for money scheme.
I eventually had to tell the coworkers that share my office. Primarily since my work ethic has been a bit lacking and I needed to explain my lack of motivation or else possibly be fired. And I made a call to Human Resources to make sure that my new venture wouldn’t get me fired, but really, that’s it.
So why aren’t I telling people? Shouldn’t I be shouting it from the rafters? This is my life’s dream, right? I’m planning a book launch party – obviously, I’m going to have to pass out the invites to someone.
My position at work requires me to be professional and I do strive to be taken seriously. However, I am a chunky, bubbly, blond girl with a just short of irritatingly high pitched voice. It’s not easy. And now I write romance. Not fifty shades of anything special, but the kind where a half naked man with historically inaccurate long hair stands atop a pirate ship with some half naked buxom female wilting at his side. This should go a long way to improve my potential for upward mobility. *sigh*
So, is this embarrassment? Am I embarrassed? I’ve done far worse than that at work to be embarrassed about, so why would this affect me?
Maybe it’s the attention? I have a classic case of middle child syndrome and generally never shy away from being the center of attention. One would think this would be right up my alley. But when I tried to tell someone today, I looked around the corner and lowered my voice. It’s a book, not a communicable disease! Why am I whispering?
The last option is fear of failure. Maybe, I’m not embarrassed, but scared of what my peers will think? Perhaps I’m okay with the attention, but only if it’s in a positive, non-critical manner?
Whatever it is, the gig will be up in a manner of months. I’ll have to hand out the invites to the launch party, I’ll be on my blog tour, and my book will be available for the masses with a picture of me connected to it. There’ll be no more hiding. It’s time to leave my writing closet.