“There is much to be said for failure. It is much more interesting than success.”
So said Sir Max Beerbohm, English essayist, parodist and caricaturist. I read his bio on Wikipedia and it didn’t sound to me like he hit too many bumps along the way to success. Of course, being knighted would be rough.
Anyway, most of us on our way to success will hit some roadblocks, detours, and maybe even experience head-on collisions. No matter what your goals in life- world travel, publishing deal, or world domination- the road isn’t paved with gold.
The quest to get published is an arduous process. Beerbohm might have been right- perhaps the failures are more interesting than the final successes, but I don’t care. I want to be a success.
People don’t realize that every book sitting on the shelves at Barnes and Noble was the result of blood, sweat, and tears from a small army of people. They also don’t recognize it takes years for a book to get published.
I don’t tell many people that I’ve written a book and am attempting to get published. It’s a long, convoluted story that most people don’t want to hear. In fact, I haven’t told anyone in my family outside my husband. It will be much easier to tell people about my book when I know it’s going to get published than to have to explain the whole rigmarole right now.
What about you? Do you tell people about your quest to be published?
I don't tell people I want to be published if I can help it. People know I write, since it's part of my education, but they dont really know I write creatively.
I think most people that know me, know I write, in part because I have for years and it's always-"What are you doing?"
I was given forever free status at a local coffeeshop/restaurant because they liked having me there 5 nights a week-writing.
Then they went out of business-not my fault.
Now years later, I am getting published, so you are morally obligated to tell everyone you know.
You don't have to tell the family right now Stephanie, family can be so irratating, but you may as well let your students know that you're writing about a most intriguing Pharaohess. Yes, I just made that up.
Yes, I do. I tweet about it and facebook about it. So I'm out. My dream is out there for the world to see. My family knows. My coworkers know. Even my students know.
I figure. I have a dream. I'm going for it. And whatever happens, whether "success" or "failure", there's inspiration in chasing a dream.
I agree – the writing process is long and twisty. I won't mention it to the people in my "real" world until I'm much farther along in the process!
Well, my long comment was just deleted by accident, so this is going to be a shorter one. I don't think a lot of people understand the process, which is why I usually keep my writing dreams to myself. My family's been telling me, "You're going to be a famous author!" since I was six, and twenty years later and still NOT rich and famous, I don't really want to get into details. lol.
with the first one, i had intended to get *one* copy printed at Lulu.com just so i could have physical evidence of the accomplishment of finishing something. but i made the mistake of telling people i was writing and they said they wanted to read it, and then a whole lot of people said they wanted to read it, and that put a lot of pressure on me to finish, but i also worried about what they would think. unfortunately, with the sequel i'm writing, it's happening again – trying to meet everyone's expectations, and it's making it almost impossible to write.
We-ell, I do tell people, because I'm otherwise unemployed (unless you count house-wifery). So if I tell them I'm a writer, they're less likely to give me the stink-eye, and I feel a bit better about myself instead of, when they ask me "What do you do?" replying "I don't."
I'm not sure that being an unpublished writer is THAT far ahead of being an unemployed house-wife without children, but it at least makes people think I'm doing SOMETHING with my time other than watching television (which I do not do AT ALL, thankyouverymuch!)
I tell people I'm writing a novel because it's better than letting them think I'm mooching off my husband, slack-jaw in front of the couch, eating bon bons and watching Oprah. Not that there's anything wrong with eating bon bons. Although, it definitely got a lot easier after I published my short stories.
PS- could you send that squirrel to my house? I've got some laundry piling up. Thanks. 🙂
Most of my immediate family know that I write. It's not something I bring up in casual conversation. One of my sons is an aspiring writer as well and I'm far more apt to mention his writing. (See, I just did it again)
I order in a lot of writing craft books through the library, so I have to wonder if the local librarians suspect…
My family knows, but barely anybody else.
Valerie — nothing wrong w/ bon bons — but the Oprah part, hmmmm….
There is a small group of people who know my dreams. I agree with you. It'll be easier to share that news when I've reached the top of the mountain, than while trying to climb it. 🙂
I'm with David–people who call me know I'm a writer because that's what I'm always doing. (READ: Don't call me! J/K)
Whether or not I broadcast my dreams depends on the day and my current level of confidence. When I'm feeling good, everyone knows I'm trying to get published! But other times, I keep my thoughts to myself and I never, NEVER bring it up at parties.
To those not in my more intimate writing circles, I don't volunteer much information about my own quest unless asked. Although I do find that to the general public, the idea of getting published is a fascinating thing and, like you said, they're ALWAYS shocked to see how long and bumpy of a road it really is. Can't wait to shout invites to my great book tour, but until then, I keep somewhat mum.
Natalie- I'm still impressed that you write creatively while going to school. I remember those days- I worked full-time and went to school full-time. I barely had time to sleep!
David- I have told my students that I've written a book, but they don't know much more than that. Some of them knew who Hatshepsut was though- woohoo!
Katie- You're totally right about there being inspiration in chasing a dream. And think of all the people who will be there to celebrate with you when your book is published!
Jemi- I agree. I at least want to have an agent before I start telling the world. Okay, so I have a blog so I've kind of already told the world, but you get what I mean.
Guinevere- For some reason I really don't want to tell my family. I think I don't want all the questions when I'm slogging my way through rejections. Better to tell them when I have a signed contract.
Michelle- As soon as you tell people about your book they inevitably want to read it. I've had to hold it back from several people.
Amalia- You have my dream job! Want to trade for a while? 🙂
Valerie- The squirrel is on his way. I told him not to blow anything up. 🙂
Deb- Those librarians are pretty sharp cookies. Does your family cheer you on? I'll bet they do!
Bane- No one knows except for us. *insert evil laugh*
Shannon- Precisely. That's a much better conversation than, "I've written a book, but I don't have an agent or a publishing deal."
Steph- Yeah, I never bring it up to random people. You never know what can of worms you'll open. Or the long explanations of the publishing industry. Blecch.
K.M.- Yay for book tours! You should come to Alaska! No one ever comes to Alaska. Sigh.
Love the picture! I've been telling more and more people that I'm writing, but I'm definitely not announcing it to the world.
I started telling people last year about my writing and eventual publishing intent. It gives me a weak in the knees butterfly feeling at times.
And imagine my horror when my husband introduced me once at a dinner party as, "My wife, the writer." I had to learn to tap dance with that one pretty fast.
PS: Do you visit Scribbit blog? Michelle is a blogger & writer who lives in Alaska, too!
I can count the people on one hand who I blabbed to. Now the whole world knows- LOL! It really is a difficult path to explain. I have a hard enough time grasping the concept that this road is long, narrow, and dim.
I love the squirrel picture!
Everyone who is close to me knows I write. Sometimes I forget how difficult the publishing world really is and how much work it is going to take.
I wish you luck on your journey!
Love the squirrel!
I tell no one about my writing except for my husband and my test readers (who have been sworn to secrecy). It's better that way. Feels like less people are waiting around for me to fail.
I don't tell many people–just a few. And, of course, the ones I know through anonymity, like on here. Close friends, and family. And mostly when they ask about if I'm going to try to publish it, I emphasize the "try."
I made a living as a non-fiction writer so I am one but telling people I write fiction has gotten me some uncomfortable questions (like: Do you have prospects lined up to sell it? Is it done yet? etc). So I am becoming a little less willing to talk about it with non-writers.