Okay, not really. But the gal in front of me was VERY. LOUD. In fact, she's familiar to me--I've seen her around town before. And every time I've seen her, she's been VERY. LOUD. So the eavesdropping sort of came naturally.
Probably it's even a misnomer.
Anyway, to be perfectly honest, I didn't turn down the music in my earbuds (which I had cranked specifically to drown her out) until I heard her say, "....my critique group." I perked right up, deftly loosening one of my earbuds so that I could
I'm one of those introverts-who-actually-likes-to-talk-to-people. And normally, at a moment like this, I would have chimed in. "So, you're a writer?" Or, "What do you write?" Just sort of worming my way into the conversation, yes? Because WRITERS LOVE TO TALK ABOUT WRITING. And it was obvious that the gal this Loud Woman was talking to wasn't one of "us".
I stayed quiet, though. Stuck my earbud back in and turned away.
I felt ashamed.
Wow, right? I was pretty bowled over by it, too. And I'm still processing my emotional response, because I don't like that it happened.
Thing is, I'm in a sort of weird category. I'm not a newbie, so I'm not coming in from the green-eared, all fresh and confused camp. I'm not querying agents, so I'm not having that sort of angst. Truth is, I have a fantastic agent who has been working on selling my stuff, and a lot of time has passed. A lot.
And I don't feel like explaining that to a stranger. I don't even feel like saying, "Oh, yes, I'm agented. We're working on selling that first novel!" *insert socially acceptable smile*
I mean, a couple of years ago, I was fine with saying that sort of thing. But this journey has turned out to be longer than I ever (ever ever ever) expected. And as I stood listening to Loud Author last Sunday, I didn't feel compelled to join in. I felt embarrassed.
Embarrassed that I've been writing so long. Embarrassed that I've been agented so long. Embarrassed that I can't say, simply, "Yes, my novel will be released in September," or "Yes, I have several YA novels published."
It's easier to say nothing at all.
On the healthy side of things (I really am fairly emotionally intelligent--I promise!), it's actually not a bad thing that I can set my writing aside. It makes the waiting easier, makes the pushing-through easier. Helps me to focus on the rest of my life so that the disappointments in my writing pursuits don't crush me. So there's that.
But I would feel more at peace with myself if I hadn't felt embarrassed. If I hadn't stood there thinking, "Well, I'm sort of a living fail right now, so I'd better not say anything."
I'm not a living fail. I'm not ashamed of my work. But the raw, deep-gut part of me had a knee-jerk reaction. And it was a wake-up call, because I absolutely don't want to stay in a shame place.
At the end of the day, I am a writer. And when I wake up, I'm still a writer. So there you have it. Actually, I don't have to talk about it with strangers if I don't want to, and that's okay. But the shame part? That needs to die a sudden death.
Each of our journeys is unique. This one's mine. I've got to own it when it sucks, own it when it sings, own it until I've walked it all the way to the horizon--and beyond. And the same goes for you.
Thanks for being in my corner, and have a wonderful weekend!