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Wednesday 7 August 2013



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In the last few days, I was contacted by a co-worker from my past. It was great to have a chat and catch up. After a little conversation the subject of me having written a book was brought up. From word of mouth, she knew that I had written a book and expressed her excitement at my accomplishment, which was very nice to receive. Of course I brought her up to date, telling her I had actually written and published two. She was very pleased and called me a dark horse, keeping this side of myself a secret.

Before our conversation was finished, she had all the information she needed to find my web site and how to purchase a copy of the books from the web. I was feeling quite proud and happy that she had taken an interest in pursuing my pieces of work.

Afterwards, I found myself feeling somewhat insecure about someone I had known very well in the past reading my books. A number of questions surfaced in my mind which made me feel vulnerable. Would she like them? Would she see me differently, after reading them?  What would her reaction be to the content inside? Next time I catch up with her, would she treat me differently, after another facet of my personality is revealed to her?

Writing and publishing is in itself a great achievement, and I should be shouting it out to the world, but instead I feel vulnerable when people who know me read my work. I much prefer to keep this side of myself secretive from the people I have close contact with.

This month, I am asking my fellow writer's to help me overcome this insecurity, by sharing similar feelings and to let me know if any of you out there feel the same way. Have you ever found yourself thinking thoughts like mine?


Laura Clipson said...

My sister is always the first person to read my work, but I still get nervous when she reads it, though not as nervous as I get when my mum reads my writing.
I think writing is a very personal thing, so when you let other people read what you've written, it is nerve-wracking. It's not so bad when it's people you've never met.

Nicole said...

Don't worry, Carolyn. You're not alone in this. I always try to balance the nervousness and vulnerability with excitement. Just think, what if your friend answered all those questions you posed with fantastic positive answers?! It's all in your perspective. She might end up loving your stuff, and boy wouldn't that be something to be excited about. ;)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

It's like when you see that person again and they don't mention your book - you instantly think he didn't like it. Usually though, he either hasn't read it yet or it just doesn't register to him how important it is to you. I think we handle that insecurity by keeping it in perspective.

Suzanne said...

When I first started writing my novellas a couple of years ago I didn't even tell my husband. Just one friend that I knew wouldn't sugar coat her thoughts but would be brutally honest. Once I had put it on Amazon then I did worry at first but then I thought, if there's a problem, it's their problem not mine! Simple but effective :)
Suzanne @ Suzannes-Tribe

M said...

For me it's more about what people think of me because I've self-published my work . . . I do wonder if that makes them think less of me.


Karen Elizabeth Brown said...

I feel vulnerable because when I write a part of me is in that book. I recently had a friend of mine purchase my book and when I saw them the next time, nothing was ever said about the book. Was it my own insecurity? Maybe their head wasn't in that space just then. Or maybe they hated it! I get those feelings too.

ELAdams said...

You're not alone - I freak out more about people I know reading my work than I do about strangers reading it! So many of my friends from school have bought my book and every time someone messages me about it, I get scared they won't like it!

Robin said...

I haven't published anything, so I cannot tell you how I have overcome this obstacle. What I think I would feel is that these people are not you. They are your creativity, your imagination, your ability to write a story. Yes, if they don't like it will hit closer to home because it is someone you know... However, it is still ultimately just one person. And the truth is that not everyone is going to love your work. (That is a hard one to wrap our emotions around because we want everyone to love our writing, particularly our friends and loved ones.)

I guess I would remind myself that I am not my writing. If they love it, great. If they don't, they aren't rejecting you. They still like you.

Did that make sense???

Sheena-kay Graham said...

Be glad you have someone close to you who is interested in your work. Almost all who express great interest in my work are my blogging/online friends, no joke. I'm glad but it would be nice to have more face to face support.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I can relate, Carolyn. I've published 2x and I still worry that I've hit the end of the road. Great post, thanks.

Jennifer said...

I understand you completely. I don't want my own mother to read anything I've written. It's not that I write anything that I think she might find offensive, or in bad taste, or whatnot. I can't explain why, it's just something that makes me really anxious.

Unknown said...

Why is it a stranger reading what I wrote doesn't frighten me near as much as someone I know reading my stuff. It feel so much more vulnerable!

Trisha said...

I feel the same way about my music album that just came out - it's weird having people I actually know listen to it. I'd much rather total strangers listen & judge as they will. ;)

Melissa said...

I'm not published yet (not fiction, anyhow), but yes, I worry about stuff like that. Sometimes people we know are the more daunting audience than people we don't.

Great post. :)
August co-host and IWSG #110

Anonymous said...

With my first few books, I wasn't that nervous having people I know read it. Now, I have a NA series I'm working on that has some steamy scenes and I'm definitely nervous about my family and friends reading them. I've already told hubby his parents are not to read this series. They already ask about my writing way too much.

Unknown said...

You hit on one of my biggest fears: exposure. It's a very intimidating thing to let someone into your soul, and that's what you're doing when they read your book. So no, I have no advice for you, only praise, because you are doing a very brave thing.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I think someone who knew me way back then would be surprised my stories aren't dark.

randi lee said...

You are SO not alone! I'm so afraid of having people I know read my work that I have two Facebook accounts, One author, one personal. I have never posted an inkling about my writing or the fact that I'm a writer on my personal account. Funny how we can be so willing to connect with strangers, but not those closest to us, eh?

Meradeth Houston said...

It's great to read this post, and the other comments, to know I'm not alone in this. I definitely don't broadcast that I'm also a writer and get really anxious when people from my day-job world pick up my work. Generally it's been positive, but I've had a few times when it hasn't been and it's definitely interesting!

Julie Musil said...

I haven't published a book yet, but I know for sure I will feel this way! Especially since I write for teens, and some of my son's friends may read it. I know that's the goal, but still, when people know us...I totally understand your fear, so I'm not very good at calming them, am I?

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