Hiding in Plain Sight

Being a writer, I’ve come to accept the fact I’m more observant than other people in my life. I have to be, if I’m ever going to be any good.

So it always surprises me when my husband or a friend or family member makes a canny or clever observation. My hand reaches for the notebook even as I wonder just what else they make of the world around them that’s never voiced. After all, that’s a wonderful thing to aspire to as a writer – giving voice to what people never articulate for themselves. Those truths that resonate with readers.

I’m an intensely private person – the anonymous blog is one clue. Only a few people in real life know I write, and it will stay that way until I have a bit more to show for my efforts. I’m flying under the radar. Hiding in plain sight. Or so I thought.

My conception of myself was thrown for a loop recently when I received a gift from one of my aunts. A book on writing, with the note: “I think this is something you like to pursue in your own way.”

At first I thought my father spilled the beans to his sister. He swears he didn’t. This was just my aunt putting two and two together. Somehow.

I’m still struggling with how she guessed since I’ve never acknowledged that side of me when I’m around her. Of course we both share a love of books and have been trading novels, recommendations, and reviews for years. And my vague answer to what I’m up to these days is probably eyebrow raising to her, considering my past academic and professional achievements. But that doesn’t mean I’m comfortable admitting it. To her. Yet.

But the fatigue of keeping up appearances, of pretending this huge part of my life doesn’t exist, is wearing on me.

The fantabulous, always-articulate Tahereh Mafi wrote a post this week on Writers Coming Out of the Closet. Even looking through my old archives, I’ve noticed this issue of identity recurring again and again. And there are hundreds of posts out there from published authors, bestsellers even, who still feel insecure in their writerly-ness.

Do you find yourself hiding in plain sight? How do you own being a writer? And if anyone could tell me who started the silver pin “I am a writer” badge, I’d be much obliged. Happy writing!
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4 thoughts on “Hiding in Plain Sight

  1. Laura Marcella says:

    Not too many people know how serious I am about becoming an author, but I'm okay with that. There's nothing wrong with being reticent when it comes to your writing. I know multi-published writers who still get shy talking about their writing!

  2. Sharon K. Mayhew says:

    You'll find someone that writes too and you'll be so excited about something they write or something they tell you that it starts leaking out in conversation…Before you know it, you'll be comfortable telling people that you are reaching for your dreams…

  3. Elizabeth Twist says:

    I get this. It's weird to be an artist in Western culture. (What do we people *do* all day, anyway?) The more I write, the more I feel like I'm getting away with something. No wonder it's hard to tell people.

  4. Saumya says:

    I struggle with this all the time and I'm sure many of us do so thank you for writing this post. It's wonderful that your writing is your secret for now…in time, you will decide whether or not to change that but I admire you sticking to what feels right. I tell people more than I should out of pressure and that's something I'd like to change.

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