I shouldn’t have told them I was writing a novel…


“All great achievements require time.” – Maya Angelou

I saw this on Twitter recently and somehow it defined what I was living right now. Ever wish you could go back in time and change something you’ve said? I guess that’s a stupid question…we all have something we’d like to take back. Right now, I’d like to go back to a gathering of friends and acquaintances just a few months ago–“What have you been doing?” A simple innocent question-but I dropped the bomb. Aaaahhhh, why did I say it? I was so proud of the fact that I had finished my novel and I was on to the query stage. I had finished my query and was so excited to send it out, I blurted out the mistake sentence, “I’ve written a novel and now I’m starting to send it out to agents.” Yikes…why didn’t I just tell everyone I had gone on a diet? It’s like giving people the right to ask you each time they see you, “How’s the diet going?” Then you feel like crap when you have to say, “Fine, except for the ice cream sundae I ate yesterday.”

So now that so many people are aware of my writing project, I am constantly hearing, “How is the book going? Have you sold it yet?” Somebody shoot me! Why did I do it? What was I thinking? Sure, I can look at it as a great motivator-a way to push me to keep sending out the queries. But in the long run, it’s just a reminder that I’m not quite there yet.

Of course, I’ve read the blogs and heard the tales from seasoned writers. They’ve said not to tell and I didn’t listen. Now I know and I’m here to help you. My advice, make sure you’re ready to tell everyone you’re writing a book. Make sure you’re ready to answer questions almost daily on how your writing is going, whether you are published, and what your book is about. Yes, it’s good practice to tell others what your book is about, but do you want to do it every day? Just be aware of the impact of that one, simple sentence.

Have you told? Are you going to tell? Or maybe the question is when will you tell?

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16 thoughts on “I shouldn’t have told them I was writing a novel…

  1. Don’t I wish I had never told my family I was writing a novel!

    It’s too bad we can’t have one big DO OVER. I’d quietly write my novel, sell it, and them ship them a copy only after it hits the best sellers list.

    I wonder if I can convience them I’ve given up writing and taken up gardening. Do you think that would stop the questions?

  2. Only my family knows – and you’re right, I think it’s best to keep it that way for the time being. I understand why you let it out though, it’s exciting to have finished a work. However, the questions might drive me mad as well.

  3. I told. And I’m not even querying yet. Know what I’ve been doing the past several months? *Avoiding* talking about my novel to anyone save my writing buddies. I’ve gone back “into the closet” for the most part, tired of answering questions, tired of trying to explain why books don’t get published a week after they’re finished, and why now that I’ve written several drafts why I still have nothing published.

    Thankfully, aside from an uncomfortable moment with my mother this weekend wherein I shared too much excitement about an upcoming writerl-y “thing” I have going on, most people have largely forgotten that I’m writing. And I’m keeping it that way now, until I have a book close to being released.

    Live and learn…

    • I hear ya. I hate avoiding people and I try not to, but I’m very good at changing the subject quickly. At fellow writers friends understand. Live and Learn…you said it!

  4. The people that know don’t bug me about it. I’m thankful for that.
    When I was a teenager writing a novel I was very self concious about telling anyone about it. I’m always been self concious to let anyone know I was writing anything. It’s been a practice for me to mention it and not feel stupid. I’m glad I’m not bothered by questions that would only further my anxiety about the whole thing.

  5. I must have told before I started reading blogs, because I didn’t even know it was wrong!

    It turned out ok, though. Gave all my jealous siblings (I’m the primadonna youngest) a good reason to hate me less for never having to struggle for anything I’ve ever wanted (except for that year I spent learning to walk again and get my life back after a spinal cord injury, but that’s ancient history now) and always being able to find something in my wonderful life to gripe about.

    Now I’m working my rear off, getting nowhere, and not even complaining about it (much). They’re ecstatic!

    Call it my RAOK for the decade! See ya, Valerie!

    • Wow, ancient history? That’s amazing and congratulations on getting through that. I suppose it’s an attitude issue when it comes down to it, right? At least you’re keeping your siblings happy πŸ™‚ Thanks for following.

  6. The world, via Twitter and my blog, know I’m writing a book. But my family? My friends? It’s still top secret information and no one without Level 1 Alpha Clearance is even aware of the blog. Everyone else can find out when I get that book deal.

  7. Corollary: Don’t tell anyone (other than fellow writers, who are in a position to understand) when you get an agent. Unless you enjoy explaining why your book won’t be in stores next week. Or maybe ever, if your agent doesn’t sell it. πŸ˜‰

    • Thanks. I think I’ve learned my lesson. But it will be so hard not to tell, I’m going to do my best to keep it to myself and just a few who understand. It’s a learning experience in so many ways, isn’t it??

  8. Great post and I told I told I told!!! Whoops. It was a crappy decision. At first, everyone asked so much that it eventually became less fun with more pressure to produce. And produce BIG. Prove that what I’m doing doesn’t blow chunks. I’m at the point now, four novels in, that people have stopped asking so much because I’ve been sitting on everything instead of sending out. Now, what I get is similar to what happens when someone constantly talks about getting in shape and doesn’t. Ah well.

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