Don’t Ask Me About My Writing. Or Maybe Do.

The more success I’ve had in my writing ventures, the more reticent I’ve become about talking about it in real life. I can’t entirely explain why this is, but I suspect it has something to do with this.

Last night it happened as some fellow moms and I were returning from a parenting class. We were discussing organization, and I mentioned that I really enjoy being organized, and organizing things, but have found that I only have so much time during the day, and it usually ends up being an either/or choice.

I said something along the lines of:

“Either I can do music or write articles, or I can organize my house. There isn’t always time for both.”

(she's the reason, don't tell her)
(she’s the reason, don’t tell her)

As soon as the words “write articles” came out of my mouth, I regretted it. Because I felt like I was bragging, maybe? Because I think writing is cool, and that I get to write for other venues that actually pay me sometimes is BEYOND AMAZING AND INCREDIBLE. And because of the amazing incredibleness of it, I don’t want to talk about it. Because I feel so lucky. And yet I threw out that little nugget, so maybe I really do want to talk about it, because I’m proud of the work it’s taken for me to get there?

AArghghg, it’s confusing in my head.

So, anyways, one of the passengers asked me if I wrote for myself, or for other places. I, in my state of confusion and discomfort (discomfort of my own making, mind you, but discomfort nonetheless), used vague hand gestures while mumbling:

“Other places, other places.”

And then I quickly moved on past that and continue talking about organization. And felt uncomfortable for a) bringing the issue up and then b)shutting it down.

I guess the line gets blurry because I’m not sure where the root of my discomfort lies. Humility? Probably not. Humility in Judaism is not so much “I’m not worthy” as much as it is “the only reason I’m successful at writing is because Hashem gave me the ability, plus I’m actually making an effort to do it.”

Maybe the root is somewhere in the whole “blessings lie in that which is hidden” concept. I feel tremendously blessed to be able to write as much as I do. The irony is that while I’m not so comfortable talking about it in person, writing about it ON THE INTERNET is completely fine, apparently (oh, internet, you’re so confusing. It feels like I’m alone while I type this, but then people I can’t see read it).

Whatever the reason, the discomfort is there. I don’t like to self-promote that much (though I thankfully have some amazing friends who help me out in that area), but have been learning how to do it as a sort of necessary step to getting more exposure, and thus, more writing gigs.

But what of just talking about my writing in everyday conversation? That, I have no idea.

Is there anything that you do, that you’re proud of, yet feel uncomfortable talking about it? What do you do about it?


18 thoughts on “Don’t Ask Me About My Writing. Or Maybe Do.

  1. I don’t even get paid for my writing and I feel this way. Thanks for sharing it. It’s a funny combination. I love to write and share, and it’s a big part of my life these days. So if I don’t let people know that I do that, it feels a bit disingenuous, and like I’m hiding something. However, if I do share it, it seems braggy in my ears…or self absorbed…or something.

  2. Since I heard a clever person call this “the gynaecological disease of understatement”, I try – just not to do it any more. Sometimes more, sometimes less successful. ;-) Depends a lot on how secure I feel in the respective area. If it’s something that I just discovered and seem to do quite well, I’m more reluctant to “admit” that. If I know from a lot of experience that I’m good at something, I talk about it quite easily. I’ve observed that the more I’m embarrassed and try to avoid a topic, the more it might actually look like bragging.

    I’ve sometimes seen it happening the other way round, sort of: When I mentioned I played in a concert, people looked at me wide-eyed, asking “wow, you play in CONCERTS? You must be REALLY GOOD!”, and I didn’t quite know what to say, because I had the feeling, well, that’s just my job, it’s what I’ve learned, now I do it, so what?

      1. Hahaha. Yes, I’ve had the second situation happen to me. When people find out I can play saxophone and flute in addition to clarinet, it can sound very impressive, but really, once you learn one of those instruments well, the others come fairly easily. There’s a good amount of similarity in fingerings, etc.

        So if I told that to a music major, they would be like, “meh, so what? I can do that, too.”

        My daughter is a cutie, I have to agree!

  3. Ack, yes. I’m the same way. I never even admitted to my family that I was a writer until I went to college. Now that I have a novel published (I even feel weird writing that here in a comment!) everyone I know talks to me about my writing and tells other people about it, and I’m always the one saying, “Oh, it’s nothing, it’s just a goofy fantasy book.” It’s so hard to talk about it without feeling like a total bragger!

  4. There isn’t much I can think of off the bat that I do but don’t want to talk about. Rather, if someone hears that I paint, or knit, or make jewelry, or write, I try to encourage them to take it up! “It’s easy,” I say, and point them to a YouTube video where they can learn. I’ve already stunned some of my very conservative friends by my exploits in the past: having ridden a motorcycle, gone to auto races, sang in concerts, performed animal surgery. It’s just a part of me. G-d gave me some talents that I use (or misuse) and in other departments I’m not so gifted. I push my blog and enjoy having just passed the “100 likes” milestone. I am so happy to hear that EHBATES published a book!!! I’m dreaming of that… someday.

    1. What a wonderful and positive way to be! And I am just loving the mental image of a motorcycle riding, auto racing, concert singing animal surgeon who knits, paints, makes jewelry and writes. What a life! Talk about using your talents to the max. :)

          1. I did it a couple times in college. It was AMAZING. Yet, I really hope my children don’t do it because it’s so dangerous. Hahaha, oh, double standards…

          2. I rode with other people (on their bikes) occasionally and loved every single moment. I’m afraid I’m too scared to get a license and bike on my own, though…

  5. I’m feeling this way about the radio thing. It’s really NOT a major deal. I’m a guest once a week for 30 minutes. BUT, when people ask about the writing and what’s new, I can’t decide if I should mention it. I don’t want anyone to feel like I’m demanding they listen. You know?

    1. But it’s SO COOL that you’re doing it. You should definitely mention it! Of course, I probably myself wouldn’t mention it because I’d be too self-conscious. I am so bad at self-promoting in real life.

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