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Who knows about your writing?

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Since I've seen it occasinally mentioned in other threads, I was curious :)

Who knows about your writing? Do you share your stories with friends and family, and do they support you? Or do you even keep it a secret from them, and use a pen name just to make sure they don't find out?

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Here's my own reply:

 

I mostly keep my writing secret from people I know in real life. I feel awkward about it, and I don't want to make it a topic in discussions.

I prefer to share my hobby with other aspiring writers - I have an amazing local writing group that meets on Discord, and I hang out on the NaNo forums and here. Love to have a community of other writers to discuss stuff.

 

Picking a pen name was actually the first thing I did when I started to take writing seriously - not only to keep it secret, but also because I used to work in a research lab and I'm listed as co-author on a few publications that come up in search engines. I imagine it to be a marketing nightmare when people put your name in google and they find: Fantasy stories, and stuff about gonorrhoeae :D (because that's the bacterium my lab worked on)

I use my middle name and my grandmother's maiden name as a pen name, 'coz my grandma was probably the most important person in my family for me.

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EVERYONE AND ANYONE.

 

Pretty much, anyway. I've never been discouraged from talking about my writing, or from actually writing. I've had an aunt (now in her 70's) try to discourage me from writing fantasy, but ultimately I've never let anyone stop me from it. My parents know, my sister knows, my friends know, various relatives know...

 

Now, the question is whether or not they're interested in it.

 

I do have two or three cousins who are interested in it (two of whom have offered to read it for me at some point). I have an older cousin who apparently (used to? Not sure if he ever picked it back up again or not) write stories when he was younger, too. Because of the age difference between us (which is only five years), we never really hung out together when I was growing up, so I never knew until I made a post about...something- I think a map I attempted to draw (badly)- on Facebook and he and I kinda talked about it.

 

I have a few friends who are interested in reading it, but only one who's really a fellow writer, though she doesn't really write fantasy.

 

My teachers knew that I wrote stories in school, too. They never discouraged me from it.

 

I wanted to use a pen name because my name is so common (especially my last name...which can also be a first name), but...ultimately I decided against it, unless I find an awesome one to use instead.

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I certainly don't keep it a secret. It tends to come out in conversation eventually if I don't bring it up, usually following that ever delightful small talk which usually veers around to the uninspired question "what do you do?"

 

After the grilling on what exactly a "director of guide services" does at a gold mill as the on-site geologist, they come to realize it's not my only job, and I fill the extra time with my own business. And when they insist on knowing what my business is, they learn I'm a part-time editor. And they're all like, "But you're a geologist". Yeah, I'm also a writer with 99% of a writing degree. And I like fantasy even more than I like smectites. So ha!

 

But still, no one close to me reads my stuff. They simply have no interest in beta reading. They're supportive, or at the least civil enough to keep their dumb negative thoughts to themselves (she says in a dumb negative way :P), but that's about it. They'll read it when I publish it....

 

Now, as for pen names. I use one for many reasons which have been touched on before. But I hadn't actually considered the scientific papers thing. That would be hilarious if someone googled me and found a high fantasy right next to the physics papers which also bear my name. Especially since it's a fairly unique name :)

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As a teenager it was something I talked about nonstop as a "what if" or a "one day". Then I stopped because I was embarrassed at not ever having anything written that I was comfortable letting people read. But for the most part, if you have ever gotten to know me even a little bit, you know I write.

I will for sure be using a pen name. My name is boring, droll, and shares last names with famous yellow cartoons. I'm not impressed.

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Everyone knows I write. My family knows, my friends know, my teachers knew, mo coworkers know...hells, I've put it as my hobby on my dating profile. I make absolutely no secret about what I do.

 

Now letting folks read that writing? Well...are you a beta reader specifically chosen for the task? Part of my writing group perhaps? No?

 

HahahahahaaaaaaaNO.

 

I also have considered pen names. For my actual hard fantasy I have a pen name picked out, and anything that may have epic sex I'm going to use a completely different pen name when I think of one. I have multiple reasons for this--privacy, for one. Also, much as I rail against marketing, pretty much everything I've ever read advises if you write in different genres to keep different names for those genres. And if you write sex-related stuff, keep it separate from "more serious" work.

 

Also, I have family that would pick up and try to read my stuff just because my name is on it. I do not need my 60 year old Christian aunt with the 1950s morals reading my torture scenes, or my sex scenes. Just...ew, NO.

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I haven't let anyone in my family read Storms of Magic yet, other than vague excerpts on Facebook. My goal is to have it as close to done as possible by November/December so that I can get at least a few copies printed and let certain family members read it, because I have a lot of older relatives who I'd like to have read it before anything happens :-\ and have always been supportive of my writing. It'd be nice if I could get something officially published before anything happens to any of them, but even if it's just, like, a proof copy or something, I'd like to be able to have them read it.

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Since I've seen it occasinally mentioned in other threads, I was curious :)

Who knows about your writing? Do you share your stories with friends and family, and do they support you? Or do you even keep it a secret from them, and use a pen name just to make sure they don't find out?

 

Definitely the latter. My sister found out I had written a book - about three years after I started it - and wanted to read it. I told her I'll give her a free copy when it's published :) I didn't tell my wife for two years. I'm not entirely sure why - something about it being "my thing" and not wanting to sully it with the opinions of others, or to put myself in a position of being judged (until the time is right and bedazzlement is guaranteed, of course!)

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Everyone who cares knows that I am writing. Family, friends, former school mates, former work colleagues, husband, in-laws...

 

I used to share stories with friends and family when they cared, even if those were manuscripts only. I mean notebooks, before PC existed. I got support so and so. Mostly it was less support and more... an exotic admiration. I am different for writing. But I enjoyed the attention nevertheless.  ;)

 

My mother was the one against me writing, thinking it was a loss of time I could have spent in a more useful way. When I was in middle school and high school, she tried to burn my notebooks, to make me stop, in vain. She had to resign with it, but she had always voiced her displeasure on this "childish losing of time". Now that I am a published author, it is still not enough for her. She was glad when my 2 novels appeared, but then she said "only 200 copies? Too little! And if it was any good, it should have been sold in several thousand copies, like hot bread!" She doesn't understand that times had changed.

 

I have a pen name, but not because I don't want to be recognized. It is for creating a brand, a short name easy to be recognized. Somewhere at the end of the novel, it's the Editor/ Publisher's Note (in my country it is the same word and thing. We also don't have any agents, the editor/ publisher is doing the thing allegedly agents should do. And a publishing house is called Editura, this is why I am telling you it's the same thing) which reveals my real name and snippets of my biography.

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A few know I write, but when I have mentioned it to people in the past I get that wrinkled nose sneer which makes me feel like shit. So I don't tend to mention it. I use a pseudonym and I made my author page invite only and mentioned it once on my facebook. Most of my family didn't ask for an invite. I think my auntie and sister read my short story and said they liked it though.

 

I have two friends who are writers so they read what I write, one being my go to person for everything writing (and she works in publishing so is very helpful in other things too).

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I am a mixed bag - My family knows I write, my mom - who is a writer herself - is supportive and helps me a lot with editing when I need it, my aunt and my grandmother, on the other hand, couldn't give a crap and in fact just send bag comments like "There were spelling errors" on the few times I have tried to share something of mine.

 

So... Yeah not a keen sharer of work with them anymore.

 

However, I am a member of a number of online writing and reading forums and often talk about and share my work on them. I also have a website (although not an active one (bad me)) under a pen name and happily share it.

 

The reason for a pen name is an interesting one. My name is ok, I have no need to change it and it isn't common and if I am honest would be a good author name. But Reddit got into the mix a while ago and (long story) I decided that I wanted to write under a male pen-name so now I do!  :)

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Pretty much everyone knows I write.  It's never been discouraged (much) and my mom is a non-fiction writer, so she's always been my biggest support in pursuing it.  My dad has always been vaguely neutral about my writing and tried to steer me into other careers that made money, but I've always been clear that I don't mind working a nine to five so long as my off time is mine to write.  Things like that have to be on my terms.

 

I used to share stories with friends and family when they cared, even if those were manuscripts only. I mean notebooks, before PC existed. I got support so and so. Mostly it was less support and more... an exotic admiration. I am different for writing. But I enjoyed the attention nevertheless.  ;)

 

I get that a lot from co-workers.  It makes me feel weird but it's also nice in a way.  Most of the time I feel like it gets me put into a big Othered box with a bunch of foreign pre-conceived notions attached to it, but there have been a few who were invaluable to me when I was younger.  They were librarians, so that helped, too, lol.  They really encouraged me to write and strive for improvement.

 

I never make my writing a secret, though I don't advertise it unless asked because I only have one short story up on Amazon right now.  I get tired of people coming up to ask me if anything else is published yet and it's like... no.  I am doing everything myself at the moment and I have anxieties and I am trying to put out the best quality story I can so it's taking a while.  I'll set up a copy of my book at my desk and scream it from the rooftops and shove copies under people's doors when it's done, lol. 

 

I'm using my own name to write under.  I've thought about a pen name, but I don't think it's right for me at the moment.  I think if I start branching out to write other genres I might consider it, or if I decide to put something like a YA series out just so it isn't mixed in with my adult writing.  I think that Lilith Saint Crow did the latter with her work.

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Everyone knows I write, I have never made any secret of it.

 

Reactions are kind of mixed but positive. The people close to me (parents, siblings, partner) are very supportive of it, while others kind of joke about it and don't take it too seriously - not in a nasty way though, more like 'It's a strange thing to do but if it makes you happy then great'. 

 

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Everyone knows I write, I have never made any secret of it.

Same here. I don't hide the fact that writing is a pastime of mine. However, I haven't found any people who looked down on writing as a hobby yet. The very idea of objecting to writing as a hobby or a career seems very strange to me.

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A few of my friends know I write, although how much they know or want to know varies. I've had a couple read over bits and pieces of my novel, while others have asked about the plot and still others just know I write in my spare time. Almost none of my family knows. My dad suggested that I take up writing at one point, but I never actually told him when I did. The only family member who knows is one of my sisters-in-law who is a writer and editor herself. Other than them the only one who knows is one of my students. She is a passionate writer and has asked me for help editing her stories. I told her about NaNo and mentioned that I was taking part.

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My immediate family (mom, dad, sister, brother) know, although I don't talk about it a ton. My mom and dad aren't really into fantasy, so I always feel a bit awkward explaining stuff. My sister bugs me to finish a novel so she can read it already.

I have a few friends who know about and read my writing, as well as my boyfriend. Plus one cousin who also writes.

Other than that, not many. I don't share about it a ton because I'm really shy about it. It took years before I would let anyone read anything I wrote

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I am a hobbyist so I don't really tell people 'I am a writer' but my closest friends and family know I am working on a novel in my spare time. My grandma is so pleased with the idea. In high school she asked for copies of the short stories that I had written and proceeded to READ ONE OUT LOUD because my grandpa was driving. It was excruciating. But it is also nice to have the support and for her to ask how it is going :)

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For the first few years of my writing, I kept it completely secret due to some heavy criticism and mocking from family. Now that I've had a few short stories published and received praise for my work from other people outside of my household, my family perked up a little, like, "Hey, maybe she's really serious about this."

They still put it down from time to time. I don't show them everything but they know now that I write. And I only show them AFTER it's been published, in book form. It seems to hold a little more weight since it shows I'm not the only one putting value on my work.

 

I do have a pen name though. They don't know about that one for *ahem* Adult Themed Reasons. And they never ever will.

 

Because of the criticism I received early on, I pick and choose who I tell. I don't really flaunt it (at least not yet, when I'm on the New York Times bestseller list, I'll be flaunting  8) ) but I don't really hide it either since it's plastered all over my social media channels :P

 

As I'm opening up about it more, I'm finding more support. Like mind-blowing support. Of course there are a few people peppered in there who give unwanted advice/criticism. But there are other people who just come out of the woodwork and they're so positive about my writing, even if maybe they don't know me at all.

 

As for friends....ehhhh. So far, I've written a short story collection, dedicated it to a friend. She never read it. I wrote a novel, dedicated it to another friend. She never read it.

 

So. Yes, they know that I write. Are they supportive of it? To their credit, they don't talk bad about it (which is good because if they did, they'd get the ax. I put up with it from my family, not my friends).

 

But that's as far as the support goes. They don't help spread the word on social media (like not even a basic retweet), they don't read it (even if they get free copies), and they don't buy their own copies. As long as they're not trash-talking it, I'm fine. Maybe a little bit frustrated but I'm not writing for them. I'm writing for me and there are billions of other people on this planet who are potential readers.

 

 

 

 

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No one. Literally. I started writing just today, actually. I don't plan on telling anyone - not even family - unless they ask. But in meantime, only my online peers (read: all of you on this site) only know. There are worse secrets to spill, I guess ;D

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I pretty much take any opportunity to tell people I write.  But I don't often share with people I know face to face anymore.  I never really know how to represent what I write so that I don't make it seem too 'old' or 'young' as far as content goes.  So it's easier to just not let anyone close to me read it.

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