Monthly Archives: Nov 2015

It’s comfortable in here: Staying in the closet

Friend: “So, you have Wednesday off, don’t you?”
Me: “Um… yes. I do.”
Friend: “Great! We should do lunch and maybe see a movie.”
Me: “…”
Friend: “Oh, I mean, unless you have plans already?”
Me: “Well, I was planning on catching up on some… uh… work… that I have to do. At home. On Wednesday.”
Friend: “You have work to do on your day off? On a holiday weekend?”
Me: “Yeah, I mean, we have to get ready for Black Friday.”
Friend: “You design brochures. For colleges.”
Me: “Right. Yes, I do. It’s… the company, it’s doing this big social media push to try to get more colleges to purchase… in bulk.”
Friend: “In bulk.”
Me: “Yeah. It’s, you know, ridiculous. But hey, overtime, right? So, I get a rain check, on the, uh… lunch date?”
Friend: (sighs) “Sure, I’ll add it to your tab of rain checks.”

Okay, so I’m not quite this bad. But I worry (a little) that this is how I sound. I don’t ever tell bald-face lies like that, but I do dodge social activities and blame it on a general need to work (writing is totally work).

I’ve been a closet writer for YEARS, and up until recently, I hadn’t even let my husband or kids read anything I’d written. That has changed recently, but I still haven’t ‘come out’ to my friends or family.


I don’t think I will.

I’m not a fragile writer; I can take criticism… but I’m not good with pressure. And I know my closest acquaintances would be eager to make small talk and show their support by constantly asking me things like:

When are you going to be published?

How is that book coming along?

Why don’t you write a book like ___________?

What will you buy when you are a billionaire like JK Rowling?

I just… no. I can’t deal with that. Questions like that would kill my writing dead. I would flat-line, you guys.

And it would only get worse were I to publish:

How is your book doing?

Have you made a million dollars yet?

Is it on the best seller lists?

How much was your advance? I read *insert author name* gets 250K in advance money, did you get that much?

I know most published authors have to deal with this sort of thing, and it’s minor, really. And if I can work hard enough / get brave enough / get lucky enough to publish, I should be grateful and accept whatever small irritations come my way, right?

But what’s so wrong with retaining some privacy? It can be tricky, I know, especially in this digital age. But since I’m missing that ‘thirst for fame’ gene, I really would like to keep this whole writing thing on the down low for as long as possible — if not forever. John Twelve Hanks is managing it, why can’t I?

One of my favorite tidbits about Jane Austen is how she wrote in secret to preserve her privacy. Sense and Sensibility was published not under her name, but “By A Lady.” The inimitable Jane didn’t want to become a public character, and neither do I. Not even a little bit.

I suppose it’s kind of a silly worry to have at this point anyway, but I can’t help but plan ahead (it’s in my nature — I started worrying about my retirement when I was ten). Ideally, I’d like to publish under a pseudonym, have my books enjoy a moderate level of ‘sleeper hit’ type success, and never be asked to speak at a school or sit at a desk and sign books.

It doesn’t feel like it is too much to ask, but in the world of publishing (traditional and indie) most everyone is all about the author bio, the author photo, putting yourself out there, booking speaking engagements, and going on tour.

It all gives this agoraphobic hermit a terrible stomach ache, honestly.

Joined Twitter, now need a nap

Every book I read on the craft of writing — well, at least books written recently, I do peruse some old ones — says that there’s no way around it. Writers who want to be authors, must be online and not only online, but engaged. Some say you must be MORE than engaged, but actually, full on, hustling.

So… I’m online. Check. I even like writing here even though nobody reads it. But how do you go from hanging out your virtual shingle to engaged? At first I was like, “Okay, so I’ll write back when someone writes to me. I’ll respond if anyone comments.”

And then I patted myself on the back for being so amazing at this writer / author / business thing.

But no. There is more required of you.

Oh yes. Much more.


Please be sure to say “Social Media” aloud like an announcer for an old horror movie: Sociaallll MEDIAHHHHHHH; it’s really important to this post that you audibly capture my fear and terror.

And because I’m a closet writer, I have to start from SCRATCH with this whole social-ness of the media-ness.

(Not that I have a huge network of personal friends to force bribe beg to follow me should I to go public with this little habit of mine, anyway. #hermit #agoraphobic #introverted ← look ma, I learned how to hashtag.)

What I’m saying is, it’s super intimidating.

I successfully set up my very own Twitter account. This felt momentous, so I paused and celebrated with a chocolate bar. Next, I ‘followed’ all the authors whose books I enjoy, then added people whose websites I’ve found helpful. A few follows came in, so I followed people back if it looked like they were fellow wanna-be writers or authors and not spammers.

Then I clicked around a bit more… and became instantly overwhelmed.

I don’t know how these people are doing it. They are, as one book on writing said I ought, HUSTLING. They have daily graphics and images, they are networking, and retweeting, they have fajillions of followers, and some seem to post every few minutes.

So I closed my browser and am contemplating ice cream. And then I’m going to fire up my Self Control app (it is the beeeessst) so I don’t wander back over there to see if anyone has replied.

(Oooh, someone just did! Guys, I just conversated on Twitter. I think this means I have arrived.)


It’s that time again, ladies and gents, and I’m pleased to say that I’m off to a corking start. I’m utilizing this insane, very focused writing month to hone my latest draft. I’m only counting the words I re-write, but it’s still going a lot faster than just writing from the seat of my pants* as I’ve done in years past.

*This is called being a ‘pantster,’ and it’s an actual, recognized term, not just a silly word I just made up.


(I do a little bit of both, actually. I plan the heck out of my novels, only to rewrite everything many times over, often departing from the outline, draft, and carefully plotted points. I think that’s probably pretty typical.)

My word count goal this year is to do between 3,500 – 4,000 words per day. I’m on track so far, but there is plenty of time left in the month for the shizz to hit the fan, so to speak.

I need 2,000 more words today and I can’t count these, so I’m signing off.