I have a website. I have a blog. I spend my days banging on about writing on twitter. So it may come as a surprise to hear that, to my nearest and dearest at least, I have kept my writing a secret.
Why, you ask? Simple: fear.
I had been writing seriously for over a month before I even told my husband what I was doing on the laptop every night for hours on end. And what did I do when I eventually let him read some of it? Why, I ran to the bathroom and threw up. Obviously.
A wise man (hi, Simon!) once said that fear can heighten any emotion and make for a very explosive scene. Fear combined with anger, for example, is an excellent way to up tension and pace. Fear that my husband wouldn’t like my work (which he did, thankfully) combined with yet more fear that I was no good at it (which is not true, I have to keep reminding myself) combined with yet more fear that I would fail at something I was already obsessed with led me straight to the bathroom.
But with all phobias it is best to face them. In recent months I have been making a concerted effort to be honest when people ask me what I ‘do.’ I force myself to say ‘I am a writer’ whilst trying to suppress the fear that they will laugh in my face or boldly tell me ‘no you’re not.’
The nicest part letting this little secret out of the bag? I have a new team of cheer leaders backing me up. A good friend came to stay with me this weekend. I ignored the dread and asked if she would read the first couple of pages of my novel and tell me what she thinks. Not only did she like it but she kept reading for an hour and didn’t want to stop. So in this case, fear + determination = a big confidence boost just when I need one.