Sealed Lips Sink Ships: pushing away support

So, I had an eye-opening experience this past week. With two novels under contract–one due out in a week and the other next year–I was feeling a little put out that my Dear Hubby wasn’t flapping his gums about my impending success.

Right? I mean, I’ve worked so hard to perfect my craft and piece together stories worthy of public consumption. Shouldn’t he be hanging from the streetlights with a megaphone?

Okay, part of that is a silly fairytale dream, but equal parts are true. As spouses, we support each other publicly and privately–except in this one small area. So, we sat down and had a heart to heart. Turns out, I’m the one who sealed his lips from years of being so guarded with my writing.

Scenario 1

  • Him: Whatcha working on?
  • Me: Nothing. Just stuff.

Scenario 2

  • Him: What did you get done today?
  • Me: Not enough.

Scenario 3

  • Him: What’s your new story about?
  • Me: Hmmm, it’s kind of hard to explain…

Scenario 4

  • Him: walks by as I peck at my computer
  • Me: covers screen in embarrassment

I could write a thousand and one more scenarios, but the point will always be the same. I. Am. Terrified.

I’m terrified to talk about my writing, to share my writing, to articulate where I’m at in the process. I am insanely scared of being judged when my work is incomplete. Once I’ve finished a piece–and by finished I mean polished to near perfection–I’m tolerably okay with sharing.

The problem is that by sitting behind my writing wall for so many years, I’ve shut him out. Him and probably other people as well. Not a good place to be when you’re gearing up to throw your baby onto the world’s bookshelves.

So I ask you, dear writers, have you locked your writing and your writing process behind fences and walls to the point where you feel isolated from those who would otherwise love to support you? If so, it’s time to throw the gates wide. The question is how…

If  you’re one of the smarter ones and have been open with your writing from the get-go, please share any tips you have so the rest of us can learn to gracefully and graciously accept the support we so desperately want, but so completely push away.

Curious minds need some help!


8 responses to “Sealed Lips Sink Ships: pushing away support

  1. I’ve done the same thing. I still continue to leave him in the dark. What i do share are my feelings about my writing…”I feel stuck.” “My story sucks.” “I’m excited because I figured out a missing piece.”

    I think it’s important to share your feelings about your writing more so than the actual story. The story can be shared when it’s time to receive a critique. That’s how I feel anyway.

  2. When the piece you are writing is in an embryonic state, feedback is premature and destructive. When you have a first draft done, by all means share it with your significant other. And listen carefully to the feedback. After you have worked, again, on your manuscript and are ready to rest, again, expose your manuscript to your mate. And keep repeating this process: resting at every point. You have to judge what kind of support your mate can give although a generic gist or reaction to your piece can certainly be very valuable.

    • Siggy, I wish it were that easy. In the past I’ve been very guarded not just about sharing the actual words, but more importantly, sharing my journey. It’s like I’ve been in the closet, but everyone knows I’m there, making my exile self-imposed.

      The hardest thing I’ve ever done is to actually tell people I have a novel coming out. Case in point, I just told my parents less than two weeks ago about my YA. It comes out in seven days.

      I’m much more free online with my journey–and certainly with my words.

  3. You have so much to be proud of Cat! You’re a top notch writer. I do understand it’s tough to come out from under that shell we’ve crawled into though. 🙂

  4. Happy coming out! Really. Stop hiding in the closet with your writing. It is time to let your writerly flag fly!

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