Because now that I'm OUT and finally READY to talk about my writing, I don't know how to naturally bring it up. When my friends and acquaintances don't have a clue I've been secretly writing, what do I say? "Yeah, I'm making homemade pizza for dinner. Oh and guess what? All those years when you thought I was busy folding laundry and cleaning my house, I was writing novels instead."
Seriously, I don't usually start talking about myself and my accomplishments, unless someone asks. But friends aren't going to ask me about something they're oblivious to. So, maybe I really should invest in a "I'm a writer" shirt. Then at least I'd have an easier way to start conversations. About myself.
I've learned to be grateful for gossip and for how quickly word travels in a small community. And I've developed a new appreciation for facebook and for talkative family and friends. The more everyone else discusses my writing endeavors, the less creative I have to get in trying to bring it up.
At times it's tempting to avoid the spotlight. But as I enter a new phase of my writing career, I know I need to embrace the attention. In fact, at some point, I will even need seek it out. When I begin marketing, I'll have to do everything possible to shine the light on me and my books.
Writers can face the spotlight in three ways:
One, we can run from it in trepidation, erring on the side of being too shy and timid. In today's competitive climate, this could be the kiss of death to our career. We can't build a readership or web presence, if we cower away from the spotlight in fear or humility.
Two, we can err on the side of being too prideful. We can join the ranks of the published but unapproachable authors. These are the ones have let the glory of fame and publication keep them from genuinely associating with readers and unpublished writers.
Or three, we can have the attitude of Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of Uncle Tom's Cabin.
Her book sold out two days after the first printing. Overnight, she became a celebrity. After her book became a world-wide best seller, someone suggested that her sudden fame might lead her to pride and vanity.
She replied, "You do not have to be afraid of that. You see, I did not write the book."
"What do you mean?" the fan asked.
"I was only the instrument. The Lord wrote the book."
She toured the US and Europe and was constantly in the spotlight. But her husband described her as "meek, humble, pious, and loving, the same as she ever was." Harriet Beecher Stowe said that it wasn't fame or praise that contented her, but rather love. This is my prayer for myself.
Someday we may have our time in the spotlight. What will you be like when the light is shining on you?