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It feels a little like walking around naked in public

Yesterday, I ran into a former co-worker in the post office parking lot. I haven't seen her in about four years and we were never close, so we did the typical superficial three minute chat and then went our separate ways. At one point, she asked me what I was doing these days, and I finally took the plunge. I said, "Well, I took an extended maternity leave, and now I'm trying to be a freelance writer."

And then I fell down dead. Poor me, you will miss me terribly, I am sure.

What's the big deal? Nothing, I suppose, except that I have been pretending that I have been doing this "get paid to write" thing purely as a lark and it was the first time I have admitted to some random person that it isn't a lark, it is something I really want to do. Rather desperately, in fact.

I want, have always wanted, to be an actual writer. And now, thanks to the hard work and tolerance of my husband, that's what I am. It's thrilling, and terrifying. I mean, what if I suck? What if I am a laughingstock and the only reason I haven't been fired is because everyone feels so sorry for me for deluding myself into thinking I can write? What if my ideas about getting other people to hire me to write are crazy and I will have to go back and get a real job instead?

God. Self-esteem issues much?

I swear I am not fishing for compliments, so thanks but no thanks. It was just a strange experience to take this quiet little dream of mine and put it out there in the world. I'm hoping the cool kids don't beat it up.

And speaking of, I'm running a little contest over at the other site today, with prizes and everything for the winners. Check it out if you are interested, or if you just feel sorry for me and want to give me an extra hit so I don't look like I totally suck and get fired. No pressure or anything.

Comments (22)

Congratulations to you for putting it out there! I totally understand how terrifying that sort of thing is... but you did it, and lived to tell the tale. Rock on.

I think its great that you are pursuing (its early and I think I may have spelled that wrong) a dream of being a Mom and writing... Don't be scared to admit that!!

Good Job Beth! And since you dont want a compliment heres a thing, you gotta choose from the following two options:
Look at the number of readers and comments on your blog and think/choose:
1) So many people have nothing better to do in their lives and are losers, so they read your blog DAILY without fail and feel empty and incomplete when you dont write(dont think I'm exaggerating :P)
2) You do really write wonderfully and are a gifted writer. Your writing is entertaining and people enjoy reading what you write.

So there it is, either we are all losers according to you for reading you or you are a gifted writer. Take your pick! :)

Confidence is the biggest struggle w/ the whole writing thing. And I'm not sure if that ever goes away, especially in the freelance writer's life. I could go all day about how much I doubt every aspect of my writing. Point is, freelancing is hard, sometimes lonely, but perhaps, on occasion, one sees some fruit from their labors. :-)

I am fairly sure someone said there'd be nakedness in this post, but ::peering around:: I'm not seeing any. What gives?

Now that you know what you really want to do, you've gotten past the hardest part.

Isn't it funny how we come to those realizations of things we knew all along but never realized?

There is an old saying/myth and it has been put into songs and books but the saying is "I dreamed your dream for you so now your dream is real" That is from Dire Straits. Basically by putting your hopes and dreams out there you make them real.

Ah, funny how saying things out loud makes them REAL!!
Writing is a tricky mistress, that's for sure. As I do it day in and day out for a living, I have a definite love/hate relationship with it.
For me, I have to keep it separate and for the most part, I write only for a living, and it's a very specific kind of writing. I don't do very much writing for pleasure anymore. :(

I would have said how much I enjoy coming over here and what fun it is to keep up with the three of you.

But you don't want to hear that so I guess I can't say it.

Dreams can come true though. Honest.

You're awesome! Anyone who thinks otherwise can suck it. And also meet with the business end of my LEG. Otherwise known as my FOOT. IN THEIR ASS.

Heh.

There must be some sort of epidemic going aroud among bloggers, specifically bloggers with babies, that makes them realize they were all born to be freelance writers. If you have the means to try it out, I say go for it.

I wonder if I'll catch the same bug when I have a baby ...

Hey Beth, I really admire you for making the push to make the writing dream a reality. I've been part-time sports freelancing for a few years now (in conjunction with whatever "real" job I have at the time) ... I honestly haven't given it my entire effort yet, but I will say that the hardest part was getting started and making the first contacts... which you already seem to have done! It sounds like an exciting journey...best of luck!!

Well as soon as you publish something, I'll be in line at the bookstore to get a copy.

Well, since I'm barred from complimenting you... I'll just let my ellipsis do the talking.

I think a lot of us would love to be where you are right now. If the day comes that someone pays me to write, I'll have crossed a major "To-Do" off my life's list, and be walking around with a big ear-to-ear grin.

That said, though, I totally understand how you feel that telling someone about it makes it "real". It's hard to share a dream with the world.

I know you didnt want a compliment, so I will try not to give one. I appreciate your blog so much that I feel like a loser always checking in on your blog, while I am at work, at home, on vacation...its really strange to me how loyal blog readers can be. Its like reading a column in a newspaper everyday but more interactive. Okay, I hope that wasnt a compliment, I didnt mean it to be. Thanks for making me feel like a loser.

Snickering and maybe clapping a little for shelley's comment. =)

Yep. Been there (still am) about my fiction writing. I am finally having to fess up that I did actually snag an agent. And yep, book is on submission to real live editors in New York. Then the bug-eyed responses cause me to run and hide in the closet never to open a new Word file for a week or so. Til my confidence comes back anyway.

Not that I'm handing out compliments willy nilly (hee hee), cuz I'm not. I LOVE your sites - both of them. Yours and Amy's are the only blogs over at ClubMom that I read every single day. Congratulations on living the dream! Rock on!

Amy :)

You must be a writer, woman - you have a readership! How awesome is that?

Um, Beth? I totally know you're not fishing for compliments, but, I have to tell you, you're a fantastic writer! I mean, fantastic! Don't even email me back about this. Don't thank me for the compliment because it's t-r-u-e true! I just want to tell you how talented and inspiring you are. And, keep pursuing this dream--it's not for naught, and you'll never be a laughingstock...at least not in regard to your writing ;).

Write shmite.
Admitting you're a stay at home mom is the REAL scary stuff.
Also (equally scary) explaining to people you went to highschool with why you are working part time in a clothing store and living in your home town.

You're really tying my hands with the "no compliments" rule, but I will say that I know EXACTLY what you are talking about. My whole life I've been known as a piano player. The first time I 'identified myself' as a jazz singer I kind of freaked out. And then felt REALLY excited. Congratulations, writer!! :)

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So the Fish Said...

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