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The 'B' word

At work a colleague approached me in a manner normally reserved for bad news to ask in hushed tones about the book. She hoped I didn't mind her asking because she knows it must be annoying and put pressure on me, but she was just...well - wondering how it was know - going?

Blimey, I thought, watching her wring her hands and wince apologetically, she's had to pluck up courage to ask me. My writing has become a topic Best Avoided. It took me back a few years to Mum telling people not to mention Wayne while rolling her eyes at me quivering brokenheartedly on the sofa.

Okay, so I was a tad overenthusiastic back in the day, when I told anyone who'd listen I'd written a novel and was waiting to hear back from a couple of agents. We were all overexcited and naturally everyone kept asking about it. That's when I was in Blabbergob mode.

When rejections and reality flooded in I soon became Evasive. I stopped mentioning the book, and mumbled things in a tiny voice if it couldn't be avoided until one member of staff actually shouted, "I bet she's got a publishing deal and isn't allowed to say anything!!" Oh dear God. I put her right on that score and things became Awkward.

There followed a reverential Silence on the subject.

Luckily since then, I've Wised Up. After realising, in a nutshell, it's going to be a whole lot harder to get published than I first thought, I was able to say to my colleague, "oh I'm still writing, still enjoying it although whether I'll ever be published's a different matter, but no there'll be no giving up, ha ha ha!" without sounding either demented or defensive. (amazingly.) Cue relief all round. "That's the main thing," she said gaily, shoulders dropping. "Don't all writers say they'd still do it anyway?" she added giddily. "I read an interview about it." I get the feeling she may even ask again one day.

And I probably won't mind.

Elsewhere, I'm embarrassed to say that lovely Lily Sheehan and fab menopausaloldbag (mob) have both given me awards recently for Excellentosity (it IS a word - in my head) while Milla at the marvellous Country Lite has tagged me as one of her favourite reads...too, too kind - I'm not worthy etc - well, only a bit. You should check out their blogs if you haven't already - they're much better than mine. I think I'm meant to tag my favourite reads, but instead I'll direct you to my Blogroll - honestly they're all great - with a special mention to spiralskies who has just been told off by non other than cuddly Keith Chegwin himself. How many of you can say that? Hilarious.


Clarkey, You're gonna get published one day girl I can see it in my crystal ball - I see fame and future :)

BTW I've started on the "BOOK" again thanks to you m'dear (something you said on a comment)It's an amalgamation of words + my photos. I rather excited by it's growth have been working on it late into the nights) Thanks Tommox
Paige said…
I sort of get the same reactions at my work when it comes to people asking about my book.

At first it was all excitement;

'Can I read it!?' to
'Have you subbed yet' to
'Have you got an agent yet?' and 'Are you in Waterstones?'

Now people have stopped asking. I think they are worried I'll bite their heads off in case they say the wrong thing. The rejections have started rolling in and I can see in their eyes that the excitement they felt at first is fading... Oh well... *sigh*
KAREN said…
tommo - Making something grow by working on it late at night can only be a good thing...

Seriously, I'm SO pleased and photos are definitely your area or expertise :o)

paige - I think I was a bit snappy one day, and it put everyone off asking! I kind of wish I hadn't told them, but you only feel like that with hindsight. Hopefully one day I WILL be able to say I got a publishing deal!
HelenMH said…
I think it's nice that people care ... but it's difficult when there's such a long wait for good news. Sometimes I wish I'd never told anyone I was thinking of writing anything!
Denise said…
So how's the book going?
SpiralSkies said…
Wow, have you written a book? Seriously, I keep thinking I might write one when I've got time. That's what they say, isn't it, that everyone's got a book in them. And JK Rowling was a single parent and everything.


Sometimes it's better when you don't tell people?

(Ta for the pimping. I'm nearly famouder than Cheggers now.)

SpiralSkies said…
Famouser. Typing without spectacles is sooo not a good idea. Especially when one is talking tosh anyway. Pffff.
Annie Bright said…
I know what you mean! My friends often ask how I’m getting on with submitting my short stories. I tell them I’ve got four stories ‘out there’ with magazines. I neglect to tell
them it’s a different four than the last time they asked!

Good luck with your book! :-)

Honeysuckle said…
Am in awe of anyone who's written a whole book. A whole short story seems quite enough of a challenge to me! Good look with agents and publishers etc. If the book's as entertaining as the blog you'll be fine.
Eve said…
I went along to spiral skies and then via that to Cheggers website.

OMG I still have tears on my face.
One of my favorites...."Coming soon blow up Cheggers doll...if its bald it's inside out."

Do you think if I mention George Clooney on my blog he'll visit me?
PatP said…
Sometimes it can be even worse when you've had a book published because then everyone asks 'When's the next book due out?'

Because of all the magazines I've been buying over the last few weeks, the staff at the newsagents guessed I am now writing short stories so when I take whichever magazine to the counter it's: 'Have you got a story in this one?'

Hope I'll be able to say 'yes' one day.
Debs said…
I've learnt to keep my mouth shut too.

Loved the Cheggers business on Spiralskies, I'm still giggling. SO funny.
Lily Sheehan said…
Thanks karen, you so deserve it. I followed your link to spiralskies blog and I was p*ssing myself at all the funny comments. See you provide me with laughter without even trying. No one ever aks me (outside of here anyway) how its going. They'll have a shock when I do get published (I really really hope)
wordtryst said…
I bypassed the Blabbergob stage and went straight to Zipped Lips, thank goodness! Couldn't bear the thought of telling anyone - except a sacred few - about the book.

I'm still like that. Didn't even tell my mother until the thing sold. And I'm very, very vague when people I know ask me anything about it.

Congrats on the awards. Well deserved! Now I'm off to Spiralskies to see what the fun is about...
Tam said…
I'm a Hush-Hush writer and the long suffering hubby has got into no end of trouble from telling people when it was meant to be a secret, or not telling people I wanted to know. Men, eh?
kallioppe said…
I'm also learning to be more tight lipped about things, which is hard as I'm naturally a blabber. I recently attended my sister's wedding and I marveled at my self control when asked the dreaded question by family members. 'Novel? What novel', followed by arched eyebrows. It worked though! Didn't they looked confused and wondering if they had the right cousin/niece. Well, that and running to the bar for a drink every time the issue came up. Hang in there. You wrote a novel and how many people have actually finished one of those?
Kerry said…
Ah I am with you on this one. I never tell anybody. Sometimes if I think they might be receptive (read kindly) I blush and stammer out that I write a tiny bit just for fun. I am fraudster but it is easier than dealing with any expectation!! :)
Yvonne said…
Congratulations on the award! That's lovely that your colleague was being so sensitive...I'm always hearing "So when are you going to get published?" which drives me absolutely mad.
KAREN said…
helenmh - Me too, although I think they mean well!

denise - Ooh, you nearly had me there! Ahem...very well thank you, since you ask. (See? I can be calm about it.)

mrs chegwin - They do say everyone's got a book in them, and that's where it should stay in some cases. Not mine, obviously.

annie bright - It's probaby best to be a bit vague with the truth! I've learnt that any answer's better than none :o)

honeysuckle - Thanks for that :o) It takes such an awful long time though!

eve - It's brilliant isn't it? I might give Keith Harris and Orville a mention and see what happens!

patp - Gawd, I hadn't thought of that!! I think people mistakenly associate a writing career with 'fame' and hope some of it might rub off on them :o)

debs - I'm much more tight-lipped these days!

I now refer to Jen as Mrs Chegwin by the way :o)

lily - I can't believe Cheggers actually made (more than one) comment! So funny.
I'm sure you will be published one day - at least you've got age on your side. I wish I'd started when younger :o)

wordtryst - I'm much more zip-lipped nowadays, but it's harder when you've been a former blabbermouth!

tam - That's the thing - the family mention it even if I don't!! I think it's 'cos they're misguidedly proud of me bless 'em. Which is both an incentive and a pressure!

kallioppe - I like the idea of confusing everyone like that - except they might think I've gone mad(der). I guess knowing I CAN finish a novel is some consolation :o)

kerry - That's the other thing I say now if asked - that I do a bit of writing for fun. I still get asked if I've had anything published though. D'oh!

yvonne - Thank you! And yes, she's a lovely lady and did ask me quietly as people tend to eavesdrop!
PatP said…
I saw your post on Womag's about your Bonfire Story (hiss to WW) Anyway it might not be too late to sub to PF if it's suitable because Moira said we had until September for Christmas stories so maybe early August is OK for November.
KAREN said…
patp - Thanks for that - I'm going to send it off today and keep my fingers crossed :o)
Claire said…
I've linkied you too, because you make me laugh!
PatP said…
Fingers crossed, Karen.
I sent my Christmas one off to PF today as well.
KAREN said…
Thanks Claire! Loved your last book by the way :o)

patp - Good luck! Seems funny to be thinking of Christmas already though, doesn't it?

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