Are You a Closet Writer?

My Writing Closet

Come out, come out, wherever you are!  And put your words out in the world.

A few weeks ago, I sat at a round table with four people at a workshop in Victoria.  The workshop was focused on social media and was full of people who work in the volunteer sector.  It was put on by Volunteer Victoria.

My daughter and I were at this table and as the session went on, we got to learn about the women next to us.  One knew enough about social media that she could very easily have taught the session.  Oh, and in her spare time?  She’s a writer.  The other has put in a lifetime as a journalist and now has branched out to volunteerism.  My daughter, the coordinator for the day, has published magazine articles and maintains two blogs.  She was the one who got me started blogging.

So there we were, four women sitting together by chance, and we all love the written word. A fluke, right?  Well, no.  Once I came out about my own writing to my family and friends, acquaintances and people I’d just met, over and over writers told me they were writing.  In fact, it’s a veritable revolution.

Someone said that with computers and iPads and audio books and online flash fiction, the old-fashioned hold-in-your-hand book was going to disappear.  Well, I don’t think so.  People are thronging to writing classes to learn the craft.  And then they’re filling editors’ and agents’ slush piles with manuscripts.  These are paper, people!  But the e-world is booming, too.  Just Google e-book publishers and you’ll be deluged with choices.

Of course, some will tell you the downside about poor quality, writers giving away their work, and traditional publishers struggling.  I prefer to look at the positives.  Way more people are reading and developing a critical sense as they read.  Because publishing is relatively easy the e-way, it is doable.  Hopefully, those who jump in at that level will ultimately dive deeper and write the paper way.  Maybe even with a traditional publishing company.  The point is universities and colleges regularly fill up their writing courses but, in days gone by, they didn’t even offer them.

We’ve come a long way.  If you’re still hiding your penchant for writing, stop.  Open the door to your own writing world.

Have you noticed how many people write these days?  Is fiction or non-fiction your weapon of choice?  Consider leaving a comment–it’s writing, you know.

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14 thoughts on “Are You a Closet Writer?

  1. I lot of writers I know are shy about people knowing they write… it’s a pity, because many of them are very good at what they do. I started my own blog in a quest to become more open about my writing and stop feeling so self-conscious about the fact that I love words.

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    • And isn’t that just it? Since I started being much more open about my writing, doors have swung wide and I’ve accepted that part of myself. I hope it’s worked for you, too.
      Thanks for commenting!

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  2. It’s funny you should say “Once I came out about my own writing”. A lot of writers hid what they do for fear people won’t take them seriously or that they are just weird. I don’t know where or when those notions started.
    Once upon a time there was a time when writing was as big as it is today. look at the 1800’s. Seemed like everybody wrote in some capacity. Granted there were no telephones or e-mail etc, but the fact is, it was accepted and not looked down upon.
    Maybe we are the start of an upswing in writing popularity. Either way, writers are great company.

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    • Interesting you picked up on that phrase. I almost changed it because I thought I was borrowing too heavily from the obvious connotation. Glad I left it in, though.
      And you are right about the history of writing. Letters were such a staple in our ancestors’ lives. I think we long to communicate with those who share the planet and the Internet is the widest reaching method to do that yet. Thanks for commenting once again, Dale!

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  3. Very true. Seeing your comment about the Internet, I took a second look at my best friends around the world; four people whom I have never met but with whom I communicate regularly. With Mustapha in Ghana, our communication is daily as Isupport and advise him in his studies. Maybe I do do more writing than I had originally considered.

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  4. A lot of closet writers are very good. The rubbish ones are usually less shy as they don’t know how good you really have to be. People who write well usually think they can do better and worry more about what people will say.
    But if no one reads it then you don’t get any feedback so you can’t improve it. We are not alone, come out and share so that people can help each other.
    Nice blog Elaine.

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    • Interesting point, Gill. People’s personalities come into it, too. I know I’m a little more on the outgoing side so blogging and other writing is just an extension of who I am. For shy writers, often this way of expressing themselves is much harder.
      Thanks so much for telling us your opinion. You made me think and I love that!

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  5. Interesting post, Elaine! I’ve always greatly valued my local writing group (been there for many, many years), and a Scottish online group I’m part of – we also meet up a few times a year. They are all invaluable – but my blogging, forums, Facebook etc are the modern extensions of this.

    I also love that writers have more options these days. My first novel came out in May with a small Canadian publisher – ebook, then print. And my tween novel comes out in March with another Canadian publisher. But I’m also seeking a UK agent/publisher for my mainstream novel. I love reading print books, but take my kindle to bed as it’s easier to hold and kinder on the eyes (I think) – we certainly have much more choice these days!

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  6. It can be hard to find a receptive ear when you begin writing, but are as yet unpublished. I grew selective about who I shared my writing with, until I began to meet more fellow new writers in classes. There is a tendency not to consider a person who is writing a writer until they are published. That’s rubbish, of course. If you are in the act of writing, you are, by definition, a writer. I became more forthcoming as I gained confidence, but confessing my career path (not hobby) was easier once I had a few credits to point to. That said, I have met non-writers who were awed that I was chasing my dream, even before I was published. That encouragement was pure gold.

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    • I, too, became more forthcoming with time, courses, and confidence. Making that giant leap has made all the difference. This morning I got an excellent comment on my ms, which means rewriting the opening again, but I was amazed to see how the comment made perfect sense, once I heard it. Why didn’t I see this myself? I don’t know but the little gremlin in my head said, “Oh, no. Not another rewrite!” Luckily the angel on my right shoulder spoke right up and said, “Go for it!” Four years ago, I’d have listened to the gremlin.
      Thanks for another wise comment, Sherry!

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  7. Great article, Elaine. Most people don’t understand how many years it takes to learn the craft and publish a book, so staying in the closet means not having to explain over and over that no, you haven’t published that book yet.

    At the same time, it’s dark and lonely in the closet, and you’re right. We can’t meet fellow writers if we don’t come out and there’s no need to go this alone.

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    • Well said, Sharon. And just like Frost’s woods, the closet is “lonely, dark and deep” and we have “promises to keep.” To ourselves if no one else. Some days keeping those promises is impossible until I open up an email from someone like you, Sharon. Then the sparkle is back in my eye and my writing. Thank you for that, my friend.

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