K is for Knocked Up

K is for Knocked Up
 This is a repost that perfectly fits for today!

 A common theme we aspiring authors tend to discuss frequently is how open (or tight-lippd) we are about our writing.  Who have we let in on our little secret?  Family?  Close friends?  Co-workers?  Naturally those who’ve been published, about to be published, or have signed with an agent would be a lot more forthcoming then those of us still seeking validation.  Why is that?  Why are we so hesitant to talk about this passion to those closest to us…but we’ll openly share our experiences to virtual strangers out here in the blogosphere?  Don’t worry, I’m not an idiot and I don’t think any of you are either, it’s a rhetorical question.  Here in our blogging community we all understand the process.  The trials, tribulations, frustration, gratification, reward (recognized or not), despair, and jubilation. It’s so easy to relate.  But our non-writer friends and family…muggles, if you will…with their obligatory praise and well-intentioned prodding, that’s another matter.

Here’s one possible explanation for our silence.  Expectations.  As soon as you let that cat out of the bag, then expectations start to build in the minds of those you tell.  It’s very similar to a couple informing the people in their life that they’re pregnant.  What’s the first question asked…when are you due?  Everyone knows that big changes are coming and must have a timeline to track the couple’s progress by.  Now let’s back that up a step and pretend that same couple makes the same announcement…only they’re not really pregnant yet.  They only have intentions on becoming pregnant.   Now how do they answer the when are you due question now?  It's not like you make that kind of decision, do the nasty, and ta-dah...pregnant!  It doesn't work like that (unless you're teenagers doing it for the first time in the back of a Chevy using a condom with a microscopic hole in it).  How do explain the lack of a belly bulge eight months later.  Twelve months?  Two years?  Is it a problem with her?  With him?  Did they change their mind?  Are they having problems?  Anybody having problems equating the red NO on a pee stick to a rejection letter?

The expectations of others create a pressure to deliver.  Our egos are fragile enough, why do that to ourselves?    The answer…we don’t.  We keep silent.  Questions like "what have you been doing lately?" are deflected.  It’s impossible to fail at something nobody knows about, right?

But here’s the thing, expectation can serve as a powerful motivator?  Want to lose twenty pounds...tell everyone you're on a diet.  Want to finish that half-completed landscape project...plan a party an invite everyone over.  Want to see your recently revised manuscript published...tell everyone you're a writer.

So that's what I did.  At our company strategic planning session eight months ago we were asked to introduce yourself, and say one thing that none of the 45 other attendees knew about you.  I proudly stood up and announced that I was a writer and I had written two novels!

Thirty minutes later I felt like throwing up. Maybe it was morning sickness?

42 comments

  1. You're a brave man. My family knows I write, but has never really asked to read anything. So I'm keeping quiet until the day my daughters ask, "Mom? Is that your book on the NY Times bestseller list?" "Yes!" I'll scream. And then I won't shut up.

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  2. Hi,
    I really like this post! I laughed out loud all alone in my son's bedroom, where the computer is at the moment.
    Expectations! And being a mother I know all about that sort of expectation and disappointment.

    Yes! I will reveal my secret: I want to be a writer too. But I have not yet finished my novel, so I have not yet received a rejection slip (for that. I've tried sending in translations of novels that I like and received plenty of 'no-thank-yous' for them).

    You are welcome to visit my blog about jewellery (that's my cover) and sometimes I write for Romantic Friday Writers' Challenge and Saturday Centus.

    Do my people know that I write? My nephew does, bless his heart. My ex-husband couldn't care less and my mother does not like to read. It was my father who sparked my interest in writing. He may have been a sort of frustrated writer himself. I think he was. One of the last things he did was to give me his copy of the complete works of Shakespeare, the one he had in college.

    Alas, my dear father passed away 2006. (I miss him so much.)

    Best wishes,
    Anna
    http://annas-adornments.blogspot.se/2012/04/k-blogging-from-to-z-challenge-12th.html

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  3. rofl. My 6th book was accepted by a publisher yesterday, and when I told DH - his response? (don't know how to spell it so will just go phonetically!)
    "hamph grrrr"
    So even though I am a published author, friends and family are now the last to know! LOL

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  4. You should be proud of your achievements - well done.

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  5. That really hits the nail on the head. Those closest to you are the least likely to provide real support. They can't understand what it means to strive for a goal that doesn't happen immediately, so their prodding about your achievements only tends to rub salt in the wounds you experience on the struggle to obtain your goal...I don't know why this is, other than they are powerless to help you, and you never really considered that (unless you happen to be in the one-in-a-million situation of a closet connection to a powerful publishing house or something like that).

    It would be nice to have supportive friends and family, but even then, when they try to be, they're not really helpful, because they're clouded by their relationship with you, and can't detach themselves from that relationship as they try and understand what it is you're actually doing.

    It has also been my experience, unfortunately, that strangers I meet on the Internet tend to react the same way, increasingly. They are looking after their own self-interest first, and only accidentally will they try and supports yours, too.

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  6. Man, I hear ya, D-Bone! I'm right there with you.

    It's tough to call myself "a writer" when the only thing I can show for it is an oft-revised, unfinished novel and several short stories that have been rejected by every location they've been submitted to, LOL!

    But just like that baby, I KNOW it will eventually happen. My writerly self will come out peeing and screaming. Even if it does take 45 months of gestation.

    Awesome post!

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  7. Apparently I have been "with child" for 2 yrs now and I still think "how am I ever going to finish?" And no one has read any of what I have now. I'm not ready.

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  8. I was wondering what knocked up had to do with your post, D.L. Ha.
    Karen

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  9. I have been getting better at this. In fact, I recently had a friend introduce me as a writer, and I did a happy dance in my head because it looks lots better there than when my body follows.

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  10. I still don't like telling family members when I've written something. It always feels like a no win situation, because they're kind of obliged to be nice.

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  11. Oh, Don, you'd be so pretty pregnant! LOL. I loved this post. It takes a lot of courage to stand up and declare yourself like that, so you should be proud. I've told close friends and family, but I'm getting less shy about letting people know. After all, I love writing and it's a part of me - and I don't want to hide that like I'm ashamed or something.

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  12. Good for you!
    When I was writing my first book, I told no one but my wife and a couple close friends. It wasn't until I'd signed a deal and started a blog that I began to tell the world.

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  13. Groan.
    This is exactly why I don't tell anyone.
    But you're right. It is a good motivator.
    Double edged sword.
    Heather

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  14. I love telling people I'm a writer. It's when they ask me what I have to do to get published when I get all clammy. Really I should just say I do a lot of waiting. :)

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  15. Lots of people know I write, but I don't generally announce it to strangers.

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  16. Lol! THIS IS BRILLIANT, DL!

    I totally get both sides... And there are pros & cons to both. But I *have* told my goals to my friends & family--being accountable is the best thing you can do--it pushes you, makes you work, even if it is hard when you pee on the stick & it says no ;)

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  17. I started telling friends and family I was writing a novel for the motivation factor: I figured they'd ask about the book often enough to keep me writing.

    Unfortunately, it hasn't quite worked that way. A year and a half ago, my wife and I got pregnant. So now, they mostly inquire about my son. (Unlike my book, he's making great progress!)

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  18. I'm impressed. You'll love it after you publish and people ask you daily how many books you've sold to date. lol

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  19. LOL. Still snickering over the title of this post and your last line about morning sickness. *laugh snort*

    Most people know I write but I try to keep mum about it as a rule. Until something totally FANTASTICAL happens, then you know, I'll explode. :)

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  20. hah, yeah, my response to th question, 'what have you been doing lately?' is typically 'ohhh, nothing!' and in the meantime that is far from the truth but oh so protective!

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  21. Yeah, it was probably morning sickness. It's true what you say, and on the upside, when you tell someone you write, it makes them ask you repeatedly about the project until you finish the book--a great motivator. On the downside, it makes them ask you repeatedly about the project until you finish it.

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  22. Yeah, it was probably morning sickness. It's true what you say, and on the upside, when you tell someone you write, it makes them ask you repeatedly about the project until you finish the book--a great motivator. On the downside, it makes them ask you repeatedly about the project until you finish it.

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  23. I think it's best not to talk about your ideas until you finish your projects. It creates self-doubt. Of course some of us are lucky to have a terrific editor or mentor. And comments given at a later stage would be OK, just don't let anyone squelch your enthusiasm and your creativity. I think most of us are good editors when we put on the "editor" hat.

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  24. Yep, I know this process too well. I haven't set expectations with others though, only myself. Good post.

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  25. Lol! That is so awesome. When I started running...I basically did that on Facebook. I figured if I announced I was doing a 5k, I would HAVE to stick to it. It does really help! Congratulations on being bold!

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  26. That's awesome! Sorry I haven't stopped by before this.

    Konstanz Silverbow
    nothoughts2small.blogspot.com
    A to Z C-host
    www.a-to-zchallenge.com

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  27. I can relate! I can barely get the words "I'm a writer" out of my mouth in front of a group of writers who KNOW I'm there because I want to write (sigh). I guess I should just spill the beans and light a fire under me. Or maybe it would be easier to lose twenty pounds.

    Great post!
    ScribblesFromJenn
    Happy A to Z-ing!

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  28. Very brave of you!!! I've told my family, but sometimes I think that was a mistake.

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  29. Good one!

    I think people's expectations are high because they think it's easy to write a book.

    I personally didn't tell people until I had a publishing contract in hand.

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  30. You're a brave man! Only my nearest and dearest know I'm writing - and none of them are particularly interested or impressed - so there's no pressure yet! :)

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  31. Ha - I never would have thought of it that way. But it's actually a pretty good comparison!

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  32. Congrats, they say that admitting it is the first step. :)

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  33. I admitted easily to having written two novels as they got published. Now as a published author recovering from years of writer's block mt writing avenue outlet is my blog; that doesn't go down as well. How professional can I be if Im stuck bloggin'? I'm at an age where I can no longer take myself so seriously. Or ratherk my kids won't let me. SO there, world....:))

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  34. WOW this was a powerful post to me! I am so paranoid about my writing. My family knows I am trying and they have asked to see some of my writing but I won't show it to them. I'm just not ready. As a musician, I put my heart and soul into music but it is LAYED OUT on the page when I write. I'm not ready to let them in yet. It's easier to "practice" with blogging buddies, so thank you for helping me with that

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  35. I stopped telling people I know that I write because they aren't accepting of it. Even though I hear writer after writer say the same things you just did (nail on the head) it still hurts that they frown on it.

    You are right, though, complete strangers accept our writings, yet those closest don't.

    Excellent post!

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  36. Did you ever see the film Knocked Up? It's so cute. Interesting post. I think it's true to say the more you talk, the less you'll write. It's better to get the piece finished and talk about it after you've brought it into the world.

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  37. I love writing but I don't like talking to anyone about it. people try to talk to me about what they read on my blog and I feel all uncomfortable. Crazy stuff!

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  38. lol. my little one told her classroom that i am a writer. next thing i know i am asked to come to school to read my "unpublished" book. gulp!

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  39. CONGRATS! You are a brave man.

    My husband and son know I write. They are very supportive. Other family members who know, I don't really talk to them about it.

    Susanne
    PUTTING WORDS DOWN ON PAPER

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  40. I understand the feeling of nausea having 'come out' about blogging to friends and being treated like a freak with at least two or more heads.

    Now, just a whispered aside between you and me - there could be a bit of a misunderstanding if you use the expression "Knocked up" in Australia. It means an unplanned pregnancy for a single girl. Best be warned in case you make it down here some day ;)

    Sue: An A-Z of Climate Matters

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  41. Good for you! You're brave. I'm still shy about saying I'm a writer to people I meet in real life. I was just as shy about saying I was pregnant too. Even though I planned the pregnancy and I've always wanted to be a writer!

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