“What are you working on?”
For years the answers has remained the same for me.
“Just some homework.”
But I haven’t worked seriously on homework since sophomore year of high school. The truth is that 98% of the time that I’m working on “homework,” I’ve actually been working on my novel. It also means that 98% of the people who know me have next to no idea that I’ve written a novel because I’ve always lied about it.
So why have I been lying all of this time?
Honestly I blame poor timing. When I started writing my novel, I was just a freshman in high school with no friends and too much time on my hands. The only people who had read my writing at that point were teachers, my mom, and like two of my junior high friends. I wasn’t a serious writer and I was only writing the book for fun, so what was the point of telling people about it if no one cared?
By the time I made a solid group of friends who would probably care if I wrote a novel, I just never thought it was a big deal. I had been working on it for three years at that point and it didn’t look like it was going anywhere so I never brought it up. Besides it’s not like I could casually bring it up in a conversation.
“Wow freshman year was so lame.”
“Right? Anyway, I started writing a novel when I was a freshman.”
See? It’s tough.
When I got to college, I had just fallen into a habit of not telling people I wrote a novel. Even though I had every opportunity to tell people who had never met me before that I had written a book, I never did. I still had that mindset from high school that it wasn’t a big deal and so I just never brought it up.
Then, I finished it.
Suddenly, it was a very big deal because now I had an entire novel. I wasn’t just continually working on it anymore, I was done with it. But once again, it came at a poor time: the middle of summer. The only people I told in person were my coworkers and my softball team because they’re the only people I regularly interact with during the summer. I had posted a picture to my Instagram and Facebook about it which surprised a number of people, including my parents, but ultimately it was still sort of a secret. If people missed that post, they just never found out.
Now I’m at an awkward standpoint because due to the poor correlation of my novel’s milestones and when I met the current people in my life, there are still a lot of people who have no idea I’ve written a novel and I’m currently trying to publish it. Some people may have figured it out because of my occasional tweets, but given the reaction of the few people who found out in person I don’t think this is the case for everyone.
Basically, long story short, if I wasn’t so lazy and actually finished my book within a reasonable amount of time, more people might know that I’ve written a book and I wouldn’t have to lie to avoid an awkward social situation. But no. It took me five years to finish my book and now no one knows about it because now it’s awkward to talk about.
Way to go, me.
(By the way, the book in question is this one on WriterPitch.)