‘Writing’ – It’s Not A Dirty Word

SecretsI have an author facebook page, a twitter account, a blog and four published novels—you’d probably feel safe in assuming I love to talk about writing … almost, but not quite.

I view writing as a little gift to myself and I’d been working on novels for years before I made it public knowledge. Initially I was doing it just for fun and didn’t imagine it going anywhere but it wasn’t long before I fell deeply in love and I realised, if I wanted to be an author, it couldn’t be a secret anymore. If I truly wanted to be happy and satisfied with my purpose in this world, I needed to allow this passion to cross-over into every aspect of my life. It was the only way to become the person I need to be.

So I started telling people and slowly let my writing travel a little further towards friends and eventually strangers. It’s been quite a journey to publication and the response from family, friends and random people I meet day to day, has been positive. In fact, overwhelmingly positive! So why do I still cringe when people ask me about my books and I’m unprepared?

I’m not entirely sure but I guess some part of me will always view writing as a secret just for me. Almost as though indulging in conversation about it somehow subtracts from the reason why I write. It feels a bit like I’m seeking affirmation when in fact, it truly doesn’t matter whether people know about it or not, I’ll always be a writer. I think a contributing factor is the enthusiastic reaction I get when I tell people about my books. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an absolutely amazing thing, but people tend to get really excited and throw lots of accidental compliments out there. That’s when I get really shy and self-conscious. Consequently, I’m a bit guarded about my real life. When I meet strangers and they ask what I do, I generally tell them about my day job rather than the thing that really fuels my ambition. Eventually I warm up and tell them the truth, but that could be anywhere from minutes to weeks into our friendship.

Maybe you’re reading this and realising it all makes sense. The way I confessed my love for books to you and then turned bright red and quickly tried to deflect the conversation. But maybe it isn’t as bad as it seems. I’m gradually beginning to understand the reaction from strangers actually has very little to do with me. People don’t gush because of my personal story, they gush because everyone can identify with the idea of following a dream. Isn’t that what we all want out of life; to love something so much we’re willing to sacrifice money, sleep, social interaction or whatever else it takes? People are excited because hearing your story makes them realise you don’t have to be extraordinary to follow your passion. All you need is an idea and to take a chance. Committing yourself to a dream is never self-indulgent it’s enriching and there is no reason I should feel self-conscious about that. Sometimes understanding the motivation of others is all it takes to reverse your way of thinking. So here’s my first step.be yourself

Now the truth is out there but I don’t want people to think twice about asking for an update on my books because of this post. Once the first conversation is out of the way and someone knows my secret I could talk about writing until you fall asleep! I genuinely appreciate the people who continue to show support and interest, and you should know you’re helping me overcome my internal battle and build my confidence.

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I Like To Mosey Around The Word Gallery

house-on-the-rock-wisconsin-usaI’ve been tagged by Tony Talbot to answer some bookish questions. When is that not fun? Here we go …

You have 20,000 books on your TBR. How in the world do you decide what to read next? 

That doesn’t sound too far from the truth! Disappointingly, I’m actually quite a slow reader. Seems odd for a writer, because I do read a lot, so you’d think I’d be faster at it by now. Unfortunately not. I mentioned this to my sister once and she asked, do you read slow or do you think slow? And I was much happier to accept that as the truth. I can read words fast but I like to mosey around the word gallery, taking my time, pausing to consider all the angles, what it meant to the writer and what it means to me.

Consequently, I’m generally cautious about adding books to my TBR pile, and only do it when I’m super keen. Then I try to be really structured about the order in which I read them, taking from the bottom of the pile so everything is read in the order it is added. Sounds great in theory, but sometimes I jump the queue when I just can’t wait any longer.

You’re halfway through a book and you’re just not loving it. Do you quit or commit?

I used to commit no matter what, because I have a really hard time not finishing things I’ve started. But I’ve wasted far too many good reading hours on books I don’t like, so this past year I’ve actually resolved myself to giving up halfway if I’m not enjoying it.

The end of the year is coming and you’re so close yet so far away on your Goodreads Challenge. Do you quit or commit? 

I’m too scared to commit to a Goodreads Challenge because I know it would destroy me if I couldn’t complete what I set out to do! Theoretically I’d commit, even if it meant I couldn’t sleep for an entire month.

The covers of a series you love DO. NOT. MATCH. How do you cope?

Hahaha, this destroys me! Worse than the covers not matching would be the size of the book not matching! I’m not a big fan of hard covers because they’re so darned heavy, but the thought of having one hard cover and two paperbacks would send me loopy!

Everyone and their mother loves a book you really don’t like. Who do you bond with over shared feelings?

I tend to see it as my personal duty to convince everyone who loves it why they should hate it! Maybe they can see the fire in my eyes and decide it’s not worth debating. Most of them give in and silently nod (probably wishing they could punch me in the face).

You’re reading a book and you’re about to start crying in public. How do you deal?

Sunglasses. It’s so chic.

A sequel of a book you loved just came out, but you’ve forgotten a lot from the prior novel. Will you re-read the book? Skip the sequel? Try to find a summary on Goodreads? Cry in frustration?

I try to avoid series until I know they’re finished to avoid this problem. I don’t have a great memory so I’d probably have to re-read.

You don’t want ANYONE borrowing your books. How do you politely tell people “nope” when they ask?

Tell them to get a Kindle. Happy to lend virtual copies 😛 Actually, in reality, I’d probably lend it despite the risk of not getting it back, or getting it back torn apart. I just get too excited to share the experience with someone.

You’ve picked up and put down five different books in the past month. How do you get over your slump?

This hasn’t been a problem for me so far. I’ve always read through slumps and eventually they fade away.

There are so many new books coming out that you are dying to read! How many do you actually buy?

I can easily resist buying digital copies but if I go the book store I’m in trouble!

After you’ve bought a new book you want to get to, how long do they sit on your shelf until you actually read them?

Could be anywhere from a week to a year, it depends how many others are next in the queue!

I tag…

My Wonder Emporium

Hafna Kliem Book Blog