If you’ve read some of my earlier Writing Journey’s, you know that my fiction writing was a bit of a dirty secret. Which meant I didn’t share the fact I wrote fiction, much less the books themselves, with a lot of people.
One of the most interesting things that happened once I started publishing my novels is that my friends, associates and clients started reading them. (I think a part of me didn’t expect they would, I always find myself slightly surprised when one of my friends or colleagues tells me they read one of my novels.)
Typically the conversations would go something like this:
“Oh my God, <insert name of novel> is so good!” (This is said in a tone of somewhat disbelief, as if they weren’t expecting the book to be good.)
“Where do you come up with those ideas?”
And if they were saying it to my face, I would find them studying me. Just slightly. Almost like “we always thought you were such a nice person, but what kind of nice person writes about crazy people and murders and stalkers and all sorts of other things that go bump in the night?”
My guess is if I wrote straight romances, I wouldn’t get that look. Although, maybe if I wrote erotica I would. Or maybe my husband would. But I digress.
I suspect part of it may also be most of my early readers were people who knew me as a copywriter and marketer. They saw me as someone who would brainstorm marketing strategies and email copy that mostly focused on selling products and services.
Although I personally see a lot of similarities in creating a buying environment for say a coaching program and creating a fictional world for a reader, to someone who doesn’t have a foot in each world, I can see why those wouldn’t seem related.
It probably also explained why so many of my early reviews for the Stolen Twin went something like this: “When you know someone professionally and they put a novel out, you feel compelled to read it and support them. I’m relieved I found the book a pleasant surprise and I actually enjoyed it.”
Now that I have four published novels, people are starting to get more comfortable seeing me in this role, so I’m luckily no longer getting those reviews.
In addition, as I continue to publish more books and my friends and associates continue to interact with me and see I’m still the same Michele as before, those slightly considering looks are also going away.
Which leads me to my point. I know for many folks who are not currently pursuing their dream, whatever that may be (starting a business, writing a book, going back to school, etc.) it’s because something is stopping them. And, in many cases, one of the things that’s stopping them is some form of “what will people say?”
“What will my husband say if I tell him I want to quit my job and start my own business?”
“What will my mother say if I start writing my book?”
“What will my friends think of me?”
And on and on.
One of the reasons why I didn’t tell anyone about my fiction dreams was because an early advisor told me I would never get hired as a copywriter if my clients knew I wrote fiction because they wouldn’t take me seriously.
I believed her and that choked my fiction writing for years.
But, I am here to say that advice was absolutely not true. Once everyone got over the fact I spend part of my time living in worlds with murderers and ghosts and other spooky things, everything continued on like it normally did.
I’m not saying you will have the same experience. You may, unfortunately, have less supportive people around you, which will certainly make going for your dreams more difficult than it was for me.
But I sincerely hope you don’t let it stop you.
Because it’s also quite possible it’s all a story you’re telling yourself. A story that isn’t true and is keeping you stuck.
And, after the initial shock wears off, you may be pleasantly surprised at the support you actually do have around you.
And even if you don’t, aren’t your dreams still worth pursuing?