Keep It Close. Keep It Safe.

My mother got after me a while ago.  She is a wonderful, caring woman.  She seldom gets angry, but at that moment she was absolutely livid.

“Your father and I don’t really know a lot about writing.  We don’t know which market is the better one to get into and we have no idea how this works.  But we want to learn because you are our daughter, and we’re proud of you, and if it’s something that you love, then we will support it.  So tell me what a partial request is and why that’s a good thing!”

Hell hath no fury like a mother’s love.  This made me happy for a lot of reasons, and I couldn’t wipe the grin off of my face while I explained.

I’ve pretty much stopped talking about it, for the most part.  My writing conversations are held here at the blog and in a few emails, and that’s it.  As writers, we live in a completely different reality.  We’re excited for personal rejections.  We slave for hours to create worlds out of thin air. We get angry at people who don’t exist, and we hang our hopes and dreams on them.  We’re bonkers.

It’s almost like military and civilian life.  There are a few of us that get the lingo.  The drive.  The masochism.  The civilians offer love and support, but even they don’t get it, for the most part.  And that’s okay.  I don’t get the Star Wars/Star Trek obsession, but I support my friends who have, oh, for example, the Cantina music on their wedding CD.  (Who am I to talk? I had a mix of Meatloaf, Cranberries, and The Nightmare Before Christmas on mine.)  So I’m very glad and grateful for their support, but I still keep most writing related things quiet because otherwise?  They look at me like I suddenly sprouted a pair of antennas.

And now, it’s time for a Joke About Writing!

How many screenwriters does it take to change a light bulb?
Answer:  Ten.
1st draft.  Hero changes light bulb.
2nd draft.  Villain changes light bulb.
3rd draft.  Hero stops villain from changing light bulb.  Villain falls to death.
4th draft.  Lose the light bulb.
5th draft.  Light bulb back in.  Fluorescent instead of tungsten.
6th draft.  Villain breaks bulb, uses it to kill hero’s mentor.
7th draft.  Fluorescent not working.Back to tungsten.
8th draft.  Hero forces villain to eat light bulb.
9th draft.  Hero laments loss of light bulb.  Doesn’t change it.
10th draft.  Hero changes light bulb.

0 Comments on “Keep It Close. Keep It Safe.”

  1. Love this joke about writing!! Gave me a laugh I needed.

    In the case of civilians or those who don’t write, I love this saying I have noted: “Nonwriters seem so carefree. Think of them as idiots–maybe that will help.” May be harsh for the ones you love, but I do it anyway…gets me thru when someone hints that I’m wasting my time.

    Like your blog. Will be back again and again.


  2. LOVED IT… can I steal the screenwriter’s joke… I want to send it to a few people… including my parents.

  3. Hahaha! Oh this is funny on so many levels and hey! The Star Wars thing was just a filler. 😛 I did like your mix, though. I sneak it in the player just to hear “Luck Be a Lady”.

    I haven’t gotten the “you’ve grown an antenna” look yet, but then, I don’t talk to anyone about writing, but writers. Well, and James, but he always looks at me like I’ve grown an antenna so I’m used to it. I think it’s the trekki geek in him. 😉

  4. Yeah…if I didn’t write, I would have an awfully hard time understanding why I do this.

    I’m sure that didn’t make sense. It’s been a long day, from Anglo-Saxons to the Time Machine.


  5. I keep it all to myself. What Nisa said totally nails the reason why – I’ve gotten the “you’ve grown an antennae look one time too many. I linked this post on my blog because its right on.

  6. Thanks for your awesome responses, you guys!

    Jenn, you are welcome here anytime. 😀

    Laura, I just found the joke online and thought it was funny. Unfortunately it didn’t have a name to credit it to. Steal away.

    Natalie, I’m still dying to see you dressed in a Korean Boy Band bunny suit. Just sayin’.

    Aaron, it’s true. We are masochistic. If I wasn’t a writer and I saw the sacrifices that writers make, I’d think they were absolutely insane! No sleep? Forced isolation? Constant rejection? It hurts. Mmmm, but it hurts so good!

    And Jeremy, your blog post was fantastic. We have people who demand that we open up and talk to them, but there isn’t the freedom to say what’s really inside. I absolutely agree that we’re living two lives, and honestly? I tend to like the imaginary one better.

    And like I said in response to your post, we’re mostly talking here about the people who wish us well. There are people who don’t wish us well, for whatever reason. I’m noticing that an awful lot of people want to be writers, but they can’t. Or they won’t. Either they have the drive but really not talent (which is pretty rare) or they just expect writing to come easily. They’ll sit down at a computer and words will flow. In fact, it’s so incredibly easy that they don’t have to try like the rest of us. They don’t have to carve out the time. They don’t have to sacrifice. They’ll get around to it later. So when I say, “Oh, I have some exciting writing news!” they don’t want to hear it. Because I’m achieving their dream, the dream that they won’t take the time to start. Because it’s too easy. Or it’s too hard. Or their kids are too young, or they’re lonely with their kids gone, or whatever the reason is. I put off writing for a long time. I learned to recognize my jealousy the hard way.

    I’m running with a much different pack than when I originally began this journey. Most of them have fallen by the wayside for one reason or another. It’s sad, but it’s most likely for the best.

    And it’s another reason why I keep my writing close. I keep it safe.

  7. I’ve trained my mum to understand partial requests, full requestions, good rejections, bad rejects, la la la. No one else gets it though. They just see someone who has tried for years, and in their eyes, is wasting her time. What else am I gonna do? Play on the net, veg in front of the tv, play with my nephews and nieces – heck, I do that as well anyways.

  8. My writing life and family life are kept pretty much separate. They don’t inquire too much now, and I mostly keep the rejections to myself (or mention them to my writing friends on my blog).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *