Secret Agent Man

We’ll do this like AA.

Hi, my name is Ania and I’m a writer.

You probably think I’m kidding, but hardly anybody knows this about me. It’s like the deep dark secret that I’ve kept under wraps for God only knows how long. And the weirdest part about the whole thing is that I can’t quite figure out why. Why have I been so close-to-the-chest with the thing I love to do most? Why have I been so tight-lipped when it comes to a craft I believe I’m truly good at? It’s hard to say, but for years I’ve been living a lie, at least partly. One of my closest friends swears that I spend all my free time playing computer games. He hasn’t the slightest clue that I’ve written a handful of novels, that I’ve sent out hundreds of queries and gotten piles of dreaded rejections–the ones that are nothing but form letters: ‘Dear writer, sorry but we think you suck.’ He also doesn’t know that I almost scored a deal with a major publishing house during the worst economic recession anyone can remember. I say almost because it fell apart in the end, but I was still thrilled to have gotten as far as I had despite the big fat ‘sorry’ that rolled with the credits.

My point is this: almost nobody in my life knows that I write, and the more I think about it the more it makes me uncomfortable. If writing is such a huge part of my life, maybe the people in my life don’t know who I am at all. So why would I keep such a secret? It isn’t like writing is something to be ashamed of, right? Well…

I think society has a skewed vision of what a writer is. The moment you mention you’re a writer to anybody you can see their eyes roll to the back of their head. Writers are creative; essentially, we just make stuff up. Most people picture a writer as someone who’s been working on ‘that novel’ for the last eight years. They think we live outside of reality, that all we can do is talk about our characters like they’re real human beings and pick apart our chapters in hopes of advice and, let’s not forget, hound everyone we know to read our book and tell us what they think… but only if they think it’s awesome. If you think it sucks, please crawl under a rock and die.

Granted, there are writers out there that are exactly that, but I happen to be the complete opposite. From the looks of it, rather than being proud of my talent I am utterly, desperately ashamed. Rather than a bright red ‘A’, I should wear a ‘W’ on the front of my shirt. Hey, it may not be a bad idea. At least it would get me out of the closet.

So there’s point one: non-writers think writers are flighty weirdos, and I’m not big on the eyes of judgment. I don’t like people squinting at me, and on the same note, I really don’t like people asking me ‘what do you write about?’ That’s the kicker right there, and that’s probably the source of my pseudo-shame. When people look at me, they think rainbows and kittens and aren’t-you-cute.  And according to my husband, I am cute… cute with a mind full of bloody veins and puss. Imagine asking a five-year-old girl what her favorite movie is only for her to tell you she’s a big fan of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Some people would think it was the coolest thing they’d ever heard, but the others would be carting that child off to the loony bin. I don’t like justifying myself. The worst thing to hear is ‘why do you like to write that?’ as though you’re some sort of side-show.

But all of this is about to change. I’m less than a week away from finishing yet another novel, but this time it’s going to be different because this time I’m sick and tired and a little pissed off. I’ve wanted to be published for as long as I can remember, and for as long as I can remember I’ve always had anxiety over actually reaching my goal. What if I get a contract and can’t meet expectations? What if they ask me to write a sequel and I can’t think of anything to write? What if they make me go on book tours and talk to strangers and really, why did anyone ever think it was a good idea to make writers talk?  I’m pushing all that aside. The book that’s safely nestled deep inside my laptop will soon be tossed out into the world. It’ll either sink or swim, but that isn’t my concern. If I spent my time being concerned about every possible aspect of publishing my work I’d never do it, just like I haven’t told most everyone I know that this is what I do. I guess in a way I’m nothing but a ‘fraidy cat. I’m worried about what people will think, what people will see me as… and I can’t help but to wonder when I actually started giving a shit.

I created this blog because soon I will be a bonafide author. Not because some big shot in a thousand dollar suit said I could be. No. Because I said I could be. Because I’ve waited long enough and I deserve it. I’m sure that after the people in my life raise their eyebrows at the fact that I’m a writer in the first place, they’ll raise their eyebrows even further (and maybe roll their eyes right out of their heads) and the mention of self-publishing. Self-publishing is what writers who can’t get actual contracts do. It’s for losers. Thankfully, that isn’t the case anymore. And hopefully, despite all the questions and weird looks and skepticism that will be tossed my way, I’ll emerge victorious. Even if I don’t… at least I’ll have one less secret to keep.


3 thoughts on “Secret Agent Man

    • I know it’s weird… but after spending what, 15+ years doing something I’ve never really talked about, it’s kind of scary finally outing myself. I guess I’m more private than I let on.

  1. It’s fantastic to see you’re finally letting people know. It shows you’re really, really serious about it and people will respect you for it. I know they will.

    You’re awesome, Ania. This post is just another +1 for that. 🙂

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