Editor’s note: this is a guest post by BrownEyed of Of Parchment and Inks.
Last evening, I went to a house-warming party. There were about 30 people in my friends’ new house, and they had managed everything quite wonderfully. Since I saw most of the invitees for the first time, I offered a smile anytime someone new passed by me. One of the ladies came and stood next to me, holding a drink in one hand, and tossed a conversation, “Hey, I love your dress. I am P by the way. And you are BrownEyed, right?”
“Thank you. Yes, that’s right. Glad to meet you, P.”
“I have heard about you from M. You two live nearby, isn’t it? And I really love that hair of yours too!”
“Thank you.” I smile sheepishly at the compliment.
“So, BrownEyed, what do you do?” She gets to the point now.
“Oh, I write.”
“I am a writer. I write from home, as in a freelance writer.” I affirm.
“Great! What do you write?”
“A lot of things, mostly non-fiction, but I am not limited to any particular thing. I am in process of ghost-writing a book for now.”
“WOW! That must be great. My husband, N, loves to write. He is writing a book about racism attacks.”
“Great. I’d like to meet him sometime.”
“Sure! He just writes for himself for now, but he loves doing it. He is working for a finance firm though.”
“Perhaps after he gets published, he will get full-time into writing. Who knows?”
“Definitely!” P chuckles and looks supportive of her husband’s writing.
Conversation ends well.
I don’t know about you, but I have heard many writers stutter at the point when people ask what they do. They get stuck, as if someone at a distance is telepathically controlling their words. A mumble, some filler words and then finally a muttering of “writer”. They would say, “Actually, I am an accountant. I studied Masters in Finance from Awesome University. But I needed a break from the number-crunching. So, yeah . . . Oh, I also write; it’s a hobby.” So, it is a temporary recourse, the writing? It may indeed be, but mostly the real picture is different. This is the most uncomfortable point in the conversation. But don’t you think this is like cheating on our passion? Isn’t it stabbing the love of writing, that we take resort to otherwise when in confines of our solitude? Who comes to our rescue if not the written-word? Who consoles us in pain if not the lyrical poems? Then why, when confronted, when among a bunch of people, does one falter to embrace their real-loves?
I wonder at times: we meet so many people in the course a period. We meet doctors, engineers, handy-men. But they never have any problem accepting what they do. I am yet to meet a dentist who is caught unawares when asked about their profession. A dentist never fumbles.
I liken it to a forbidden extra-marital affair which is never to be accepted in public, the secret rendezvous always to be kept under wraps. I chuckle at the thought of a boss trying to hide his unease when someone mentions his beautiful secretary. On a serious note, it is demeaning to the place writing holds in our lives.
The last thing you want to do is show a stranger how unsure you are of your love for writing. Show them you’re a darn good writer instead! How would you speak of your new love when somebody asked you? I tell you how: with passion. Would you look away when someone asks about your new lover? Would you be embarrassed to talk about them or show the stranger your relationship issues, and how you two don’t agree on certain things like politics? No way. That would be ridiculous and disrespecting! Why not, then, we talk about writing with the same passion too? Why disrespect it by being embarrassed?
Love your writing; embrace your writing; be willing to fight with anyone or anything that stands in your way; express the love of it openly, fully to anyone who is interested in what you do; don’t be the boss with grey hair trying to hide his affair; start your conversations like you are querying an editor or an agent—would you show your flaws or falter? Present your best selves. And when you are not afraid to accept who you are, people respect you for that. They like you better.
Rejections hurt and criticisms sting. But when you talk about it in a healthy, positive way with others, you become a better writer and a loyal writer. Loyal to your love, loyal to writing.
BrownEyed is a freelance writer from her home in the beautiful city of Melbourne, Australia. Originally hailing from a software background, BrownEyed took the plunge and traded her full-time job in software for a freelancer’s life in writing seven months back. Since then, she has worked on many assignments like articles, e-books, websites, and newsletters. Recently, she signed a 3-book deal as a ghostwriter. Before going to bed, BrownEyed enjoys two hours of reading non-fiction, memoirs, literary-type or YA fiction. You can find her musing and reflections here.