Telling people that you’re writing a novel is a bit like telling people you’re trying to lose weight.
Some dieters want to appear in a bathing-suit in July with a magically whittled-down waist, without anyone knowing that they have been eating like a bird and spinning non-stop since the May long weekend.
Once you’ve told your friends that you’re on a diet, you may feel that your every bite is scrutinized; each sliver of birthday cake, handful of Doritos or basket of breadsticks eaten in public puts you on the defensive.
Some writers have a similar fantasy—to announce to their friends, family and frenemies that yes, their novel has just been published. They received a six-figure advance, and have been nominated for the Amazon.ca First Novel Award. Next stop—book signings, talk shows and movie options.
A writer doesn’t want to hear the dreaded question: “How’s that novel you’re working on?” This seemingly innocent question is usually asked by the writer’s supposedly supportive spouse during a weak moment when the writer has been sucked into a Survivor clip show.
Some dieters and writers prefer to keep their efforts under wraps. They’re waiting for the big reveal. They’re thinking, what happens if I fail? What if I never drop those last 10 pounds, or write those final 10,000 words? They think it’s easier to toil away in secret. After all, it’s better to have tried and failed quietly, than boasted of your efforts and fallen on your face in public. Right?
Don’t be bashful. You’re writing a novel—that’s something to be celebrated. It means you’re further along in achieving your dreams than 99% of those who say they “want to write a book someday.”
Tell people what you’re up to. Your friends could turn out to be your biggest supporters and motivators. They might ask uncomfortable questions—like why you’re watching reality TV instead of writing. Think of them as your accountability partners.
So—how’s that novel you’re working on?