The writing closet


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.