Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Secret Identity: Children's Writer

For a long time, I was shy about telling people outside my family that I write children's stories. Even after I had a few books published with my Korean publisher, "writer" wasn't one of the first words that came to mind when people asked what I do.

It partly had to do with the fear that people would ask, "What have you published?" and I couldn't point them to a bookstore. People have said to me, "Writers don't make much money." It's hard to explain that isn't the point of it for me. It's nice to be paid for writing. When my kids were small, I worked from home as a freelance educational writer. But if someone told me right now I'd never be paid for anything I wrote for the rest of my life, would I stop? I don't think so. Writing is too big a part of who I am. I journal. I blog. I write stories my kids and I will (hopefully) enjoy reading. I know I'm a writer. And I love what I do.

Knowing that gives me confidence. I'm not so shy about telling people I'm a writer now. I even give details.  What about you? Do you tell people you're a writer?

8 comments:

  1. Sometimes I tell. Sometimes I don't. Lots of times I don't feel like answering all the questions I know will come from my answer. Like, "So what have you published?" As if that were as easy as waking up and surely every writer has published...:)

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  2. I tell close friends. But outside of that, not usually, mainly because of the misconceptions and the feeling that I have to justify myself.

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  3. I don't tell unless someone asks, then I say I write for kids and I teach writing for kids. It used to be because I was shy about it, but like Tabitha, it's mostly because I dread all the questions that follow and the misconceptions that Laura mentioned (like those who patronizingly mention what a sweet hobby you have...)

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  4. I tell people I'm a writer. When I travel and have to fill in immigration forms ... I put down writer for my occupation. The only time it annoys me is when I tell my students. I teach English in Korea (I got excited when you mentioned your Korean publisher). I've told my students I'm a writer and I've told them about my books. I've explained the publishing process to them. Yet still, every day, they ask me if I've been published yet.

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  5. I'm in the phase where I love telling people. Give me a form to sign so I can fill author in! Ask me what I do!

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  6. Yeah, Tabitha and Andrea, I don't like the questions either. There are a lot of misconceptions about writing in the general public. Laura, it's not great to feel that you have to justify what you do, but sometimes I feel that way to, even with my husband (who is out working long hours while I'm home in the mornings at my desk, doing what it is again?).

    Quinn, I don't think most people realize how slow the whole publishing process is, even when you take the time to explain it to them. There are a lot of people who seem to have the dream of writing a book someday in the back of their mind, without knowing what it involves. Heck, I'm still learning what's involved and I've been working at it for years!

    Caroline, I love your enthusiasm!! I hope I get there someday.

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  7. It helps that I write for a newspaper too. I lead with that and recently have added...and I write young adult fiction ;--) Yeah, sigh...

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  8. Sometimes I do. Sometimes I don't. The last time I mentioned it to someone at a party, he said, "You know, most writers are crazy."

    So, uh it depends.

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