Thursday, August 25, 2005

Peer Pressure


I just wrote a rather nice entry and the internet ate it. And I'll never be able to recreate it again.

Damn technology.

What I was saying when I was so rudely deleted...

What kind of response do you get when you tell people you are writing a book?

This morning I took my youngest for his first day of kindergarten. While I was waiting during the hour he was in school, many fellow parents asked me what I'd be doing with my free time now that I actually have some. To each I responded that I've been doing some writing and plan to get very serious about it. Treat it like a job and really push to get published.

And the reactions I've gotten have been surprisingly supportive. Not a single person has snorted at me as if I'm full of it. Everyone has smiled broadly and told me how great they think that is. They seem sincere, too.

Which makes me feel like the world's biggest faker.

Because I know that these people have no clue whatsoever what it takes to become a published writer. I think they assume - as I did once upon a very long time ago - that anyone who has the fortitude to actually finish a book simply sends it Someplace and waits for it to get printed with a pretty cover on the front. When I say I plan to write a book, I know these people believe that one day, they will see that book on the bookstore shelves. Kind of like if I said I was going to get a tattoo on my butt, I'd be able to pull down my pants and prove that I'd kept my word.

So I always rush to assure them that I'm not published yet and it's a long, slow process. I'm desperate to avoid expectations that I might not be able to meet. Again, like not ever telling anyone I'm getting a tattoo on my butt...

Already I have several friends who ask me whenever we bump into each other how the book writing is going. I always nod reflectively and say, "Slow. It's hard to find the time..." to which they nod back with understanding.

One of these days, it's going to dawn on them that I've been saying that for ten years and they're going to call me on my shit.

Which is, perhaps, the reason I keep confessing my plans. I think I'm hoping that the masses will hold me to my claim. Sort of like telling people that you are dieting with the intention of losing twenty pounds so they'll give you the stink eye if they catch you reaching for that second brownie. I'm developing a herd of chaperones to keep me in line. I might not want their expectations to be too high, but I need them to be there in some form.

Plus, I'd love to be able to tell these people next year, when I have an entire school day's worth of free time, that I'm working on my second/third/fourth manuscript.

Or even better, that my publisher is really pressuring me on my deadlines for that next book so I'm going to be busy getting it done...

No comments: