A few days ago, I had a friend ask, “You’re a writer, right? Would you look at this thing I wrote…but don’t tell anyone!”
I was so excited to hear that she’d been writing – not every writer is a creative writing major and been writing stories since first grade. But I understood completely where she came from with the “but don’t tell anyone.”
In high school, I had a small group of friends who read my stories and we all wrote different things. In college, I set it aside and hardly mentioned to anyone about my love for fiction. When I graduated and started back on this track, I didn’t really tell many people either. First, because I write romance. People think, “Oh, like Harlequin Romances.” While there is nothing wrong with those romances, they are not my style and I found it easier to keep my past time to myself.
I also kept it quiet because a lot of responses are “Oh, great, when’s your book coming out?” If only it were that simple. Sometimes, the process is too tedious to explain. So, I always kept it quiet.
Then, I found ACFW and a wide support base for my love, and my outlook completely changed. There were thousands of people in a similar place, and I began to be more open about and then eventually launched my website and blog to finalize that this is more than a hobby.
So, when I hear this friend say, “Don’t tell anyone else!” I don’t cringe, but I realize I was there too. I’ve also believed writing is a personal thing and therapeutic for many, so I won’t push anyone about it. But the biggest caveat about keeping it to yourself is the lack of support you will find and the people your words will touch. We must write what we love and not be ashamed.