To start off my blog journey I decided to explain a little about myself and why (for the moment) I write anonymously.
I’m a thirty-something married mum who lives in the heart of Yorkshire in the UK. I have no formal writing qualifications and have never been published (Wattpad doesn’t count) but I love writing. I started writing about twenty years ago – nothing awe inspired or ground breaking (quite the opposite actually) but it was my first step down this road. I dabbled and played, never taking it seriously, always just for fun.
Then, eight years ago I started writing a book. I didn’t know it was going to be a book; I didn’t even have a plot, just a general idea that I chased down the rabbit hole. I followed that little bunny until I had myself an eighty-thousand-word manuscript.
It was a hard time in my life when things weren’t easy. Personal circumstances meant I had a lot of free time cushioned by periods of incredibly high stress and harrowing emotional events. During the quiet times I had nothing to do but think, and as we all know, that’s never a good thing.
So I started to write. I wrote when no one was around. I wrote to escape the trauma of life. I wrote to fill the time. But I did it all in secret.
At this point, my entire life was being lived without a lot of privacy. Family, friends and my husband as well as all kind of health care professionals were in and out and I had nothing to myself. I didn’t intentionally set out to write nor did I make a conscious decision to keep it quiet but maybe at this point I needed something that was just for me.
And then there’s the universal reason, the one that keeps many writers safely fastened in our closets. Fear. I didn’t want people knowing because I was afraid they’d laugh at me.
My husband is a very practical man who works with his hands. He is not creative (he’s the first to admit this) and so he wouldn’t understand the joy I get from immersing myself in a world I created and playing with my characters. If I told him my characters talked to me he’s have me sectioned (not really but he’d definitely be checking the wine bottle for signs of wear and tear!). The escapism of a good book is foreign to him so how could I ever hope to get him to understand? And truth be told, there are times I know he would throw it in my face. I couldn’t explain to him that the housework hadn’t been done because I got lost in a chapter, not when he’d been at work all day, slaving to earn money, he just wouldn’t get it. So I took the easy way out and I wrote in silence.
Let’s fast-forward eight years. Here I am, older, possibly a little wiser and having discovered the joy of people actually reading my work. I have posted on Wattpad and have enjoyed the thrill of strangers seeing my work.
But I still haven’t really come out of the closet. I’ve made some wonderful friends online (some of whom now know my true identity) and one of those has actively encouraged me to reveal my big secret but something is holding me back.
Now, I’m not as secretive as I once was. Last year on a weekend retreat with my dear old mum I confessed. I cringed as I told her but even worse was when she started reading my book. Thankfully she lost interest after the first chapter or so (it’s really not her kind of book) but still, to suddenly have my comfort blanket whipped out of my hands was a terrifying experience.
Next I got up the courage to give my book to a friend. This friend was supportive and has kept my sordid little secret but even she hasn’t read the manuscript in its entirety. So what could I draw form these two experiences? Well the first is that my giant secret really isn’t that interesting to anyone else and I’m clearly making a big deal over something insignificant. The second, my book is simply no good. Either way, it doesn’t matter because I found the root of my problem – the reason for my anonymity.
I can’t write freely knowing that someone might read what I’ve written. No, I need to security that comes with a protective wall. I can cope with criticism, I can handle rejection BUT it has to be in private.
Too much of my life has been public property and whilst my writing is something I want seen, I’m not prepared to step out of the shadows. So for now, pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, he’ll come out when he’s ready.