Tell them, or no?

I have told very few people that I am writing a book. Some people I’ve told face to face and they sometimes say “that’s nice”, but most always change the subject. Most of my immediate family knows. When is the appropriate time to tell my other friends and acquaintances? What am I hoping to gain by telling them? Do I want something from them? Is that greedy? /sigh

I guess it is ok to bring up if asked “whatcha been up to?” Maybe when I get close to publishing I can tell my Facebook family? How have other people dealt with this?

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32 comments
  1. writecity said:

    Hey Tyroper—omg I can TOTALLY relate to this. When I was writing my first novel I would get super excited about it and tell people and either get the “that’s nice” or they would ask me how I knew it was going to make any money.

    It got to be really discouraging after a while, so I stopped talking about it.

    But then later I realized that people who aren’t writers have a very hard time wrapping their head around what it takes to write a novel and what it means to be a writer. There’s just a disconnect somewhere that can’t really be bridged. But there are other writers out there and they get it.

    And if you ever need to hear something encouraging, you can always get a hold of me. I’m serious, I’ve been there and I know what it’s like. I’m on twitter: @losapala. Would love to hear from you and I’ll keep checking back here on your blog to see how your process is going. It sounds like you’re barreling through and getting it done, excited to hear about the big day when you’re getting published!

    Best of luck.

  2. I don’t lead with it, but I tell anyone who asks, “So, what are you up to now?” About 3/4 of the time, people are interested and I tell them that through all the years of doing the day job (which I liked), I wanted to write but never had the time. Now, I tell them, I write. That usually gets congratulations or a stunned silence.

    • tyroper said:

      Cool, thanks. It’s great that you are living your dream.

  3. I keep it to myself. Since I am at home all day people ask about that. I tell them I am a consultant to the government. That usually stops the conversation since they assume I am an IRS narc (I’m not a consultant to the government. I write full time. BTW I saw you step back there)

  4. feltenk said:

    I tell everyone who will listen 😉 My least favorite response is, “I’m going to write a book one day, too.” As if writing a book is as easy as making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich!

    • tyroper said:

      Right!
      I get that response sometimes, too.

  5. Yes, I tell people I am writing a book. I might not go into all of the ins and outs, but I tell them. It’s great practice for honing your logline. If you can get someone interested in your premise within a sentence or two, you know you have something special. But yeah, why not tell people that you’re doing something that’s important to you? If you were expecting an addition to your family, wouldn’t you tell people about that? Isn’t birthing a novel like birthing a child in a way?

    • tyroper said:

      True. If people ask, I stumble. This weekend I’m working on my synopsis. That might help.

  6. I haven’t told a soul….unless you count my OH and my kids. No one here knows yet either. Please keep my secret?!

  7. Many people who have interest (aside from writing, ie, sculpting, music, art etc). might just spend a few hrs a week tinkering at their own pace with their creations for decompressing as needed. Those who do not engage in writing are clueless about the intensity of authors. Since its the first book, perhaps,the unknown factor to people who do not write are vague about what that really means. That being said, its sad that so many people just blow it off. I think its awesome.

  8. Some of my friends know, my brother knows (only family i have left), some people at work…usually people are nice but beyond close friends not that interested…that’s cool..it seems we all have similar sort of experinces with this. 🙂

  9. I think I’ve come to the point where my thick skin is nearly grown in. I just don’t care what people think about it. I’m proud of it, and I hope that comes through when I talk about my writing. If they seem less than interested, I feel like that’s either because they are 1) totally jealous that they are unable/unwilling to write a novel themselves or 2) they won’t think highly of it until they see my name on the bestseller list. Either way, if they cared enough about me they’d be excited that I’m following my passion.

    So I guess my advice is to gauge who you want to tell and how by how thick your skin is.

    • tyroper said:

      Thanks. I’m in the skin thickening process.

  10. If you had been spending your time restoring an old car or learning to play the bagpipes would you tell people about it? You’re working on a novel, that’s a big part of your life right now. Some people will be interested, some won’t–just like anything else. Some people will feel obliged to tell you that you’re wasting your time and won’t ever finish it, much less make any money from it, but mechanics and musicians get that, too.

  11. I’ve noticed that every time I tell a friend, the result is a ‘meh’. I would take a friend by friend basis and slip into a conversation when you see an opening. You might be surprised which friends pledge their undying support.

    • tyroper said:

      Cool. Seems like most responses encourage waiting. And you are right. I am starting to discover some of my “friends” are friends when they need me, and aren’t really interested in what I’m doing. “meh”, back at them.

      • Look on the bright side of things. You always have your WordPress cheerleaders. 😉

        • tyroper said:

          And, I cherish all of you. Thanks. As I told Saunved, I was feeling a bit down about the topic today. Now I am feeling better. Which is nice. Weekend is 2 hours away.

  12. Saunved said:

    I have told very few people that I am writing a book. “Few” includes my WordPress friends, my family and my very close friends. My immediate relatives have a vague idea that I am writing a book, but not many know anything about it. I don’t know why, but perhaps we have created a shell around ourselves and we find it hard to get out of it…

    • tyroper said:

      Thanks, seems to be the most common advice. Appreciate the feedback, it was getting me down. Now I’m starting to feel better. Which is good. I get off work in a couple hours.

  13. Whenever I’ve told an acquaintance I’m writing a novel they look at me as though I’m a flake, so I gave up on that a long time ago. I don’t tell anyone I write unless they ask me if I have a hobby. When I get published though, watch out! ha ha

    • tyroper said:

      Thanks. That helps. Thought it was just me.
      I like the attitude! “When I get published” not “If”. Excellent

      • lzlabs said:

        I think the consensus is all writers are a little different, weird different, so keeping it under wraps till finished or handing them a copy when it’s published is the way to go.
        Good luck…

        • tyroper said:

          Thank you!

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