I don’t tell a lot of people that I am a writer. There are even a good number of family members who don’t know. Or if they do, they think it’s a little hobby like knitting or stamp collecting.
To a degree, I guess that makes me a closet writer.
I am not at all ashamed of what I do, but there are reasons why I keep quiet about it. The vast majority out there views writers like this:
1. Writing is not a real job.
2. If you haven’t published something they are familiar with, they dismiss you.
3. Writing books for children or teens is so easy, anyone could do it. Again, not a real job.
4. They think a 400 page novel can be written, edited, sold, and published with a matter of months. Any longer and they think something must be wrong with you.
5. They don’t take you seriously. This becomes evident when you say no to their invitations for coffee, lunch, phone calls, shopping expeditions, etc. because you are writing.
They just don’t get it.
Try to explain the mere five hundred words you wrote today after sitting at your computer for nine hours. It was painful to get those words out. You typed, you deleted, you struggled with sentence structure and finding the perfect word. But when you were finished for the day, you were darn proud of the result. And then someone says, “that’s all you wrote?”
Try to explain that you can’t write on command. Even my dear and wonderfully supportive husband has been known to question why, since I have a spare hour before company arrives, I don’t just go on up to my office and write for a while.
Try to explain the frustrations, the anger, the exhilarating highs, the heart-wrenching tears, the disgust, and every single other emotion that courses through your brain during the writing process. And they wonder why you are completely drained at the end of the day.