So, last I blathered on at you I was getting ready for a trip to Chicago to see a bunch of old friends at my ten-year law school reunion. It was fun, it was exhausting, it was so incredibly different from my current life. I drank a French 75 at a rooftop bar and helped a friend herd her toddlers through a children’s museum. I remembered how insanely frustrating it is to sit in a taxi trying to turn off Michigan Ave as hordes of pedestrians ignore the “Don’t Walk” sign. I sat in the audience for a wide-ranging debate between two of the more well-known of my former professors. (The most well known was apparently too busy being President of the United States to show up. Priorities!) And, strangest and scariest of all, I told person after person that I’m writing a romance novel. I told friends. I told acquaintances. I told my Civ Pro professor! (Pretty sure the open bar encouraged that particular revelation.)
If you’ve been to a reunion you know what it’s like. A few people you’re currently close to, more people you used to be close to, and a whole heck of a lot of people you were never close to to begin with, all asking what you’re up to these days. I didn’t make a conscious decision to blab on and on about writing, but people seemed interested, and well, that’s what I’m up to these days. People were incredibly encouraging and wonderful and while it was scary, saying it over and over again – “I’m writing a book” – it was motivating. There is no way I can see these people again in five years and *still* not have finished a damn book. So, you know, I guess I have to finish the damn book.
I’ve always been the kind of person to hold my ambitions close. I don’t tell people my goals because that way nobody but me will know that I’ve failed when I don’t achieve them. But this whole writing gig … I tell everyone, hoping that the fear of public failure will keep me moving forward. I’ve had a few people say dismissive things about my genre, but not many. I’ve had more offers of help and more encouraging words than I can count. It’s really been wonderful.
For those of you who are unpublished, do you tell people you’re writing a book when they ask what you’re up to? For those of you who are published, did you hold that ambition tight until you’d reached a certain level of accomplishment? Is everyone braver than I am and just don’t think it’s a big deal to tell one’s old Civ Pro professor that one’s writing a romance novel?