10 Reasons to Confess You’re a Closet Writer

10. The public library becomes a death trap to your dreams! A routine trip with your kids turns into a mind competition. You can’t even check out Captain Underpants or Brown Bear, Brown Bear before you’re eyeing the shelves in your genre thinking, “All these people, rows and rows of them, have written down their words and convinced someone to publish them.” All those people are your competitors. “I will not go quietly into the night.”

9. You battle a self-conscious internal dialogue. It tells you the world already has a bazillion books and questions why anyone would read yours. 

8. Instinctively, you vow to negotiate for uber-hip cover art. Dang right, Skippy: we all judge a book by its cover! You will draw readers because they’ll fall in love with the front. Sure, words are important too, but let’s be real. 

7. Your “office” time takes place in the middle of the night– after your kids are in bed, likely while the rest of the neighborhood sleeps. Even though you’ve never been a night owl, writing is the adrenaline rush that changes your sleep habits. 

6. When in writing season, you revisit chaotic sleeping patterns comparable to your college years. You find it IMPOSSIBLE to fall asleep after writing in the wee hours. Unfortunately, now you have a day job and a family, maybe kids, and have forfeited your sleep for your writing obsession. 

5. And writing does become an obsession. So many thoughts! So many ideas and stories to share. They relentlessly beg you to set them free. 

4. You feel overprotective of your words and begin to realize it’s not all that different than raising your kids. You handle them with the gentlest of care like you would an infant, praising them for every little milestone along the way. You fuss at them when they won’t cooperate like your teenagers, occasionally giving them the silent treatment when they’ve made you so frustrated you want to scream and throw things. One day your words, like your children, will have to leave the safety of your hands. You’ve done the best you could. All you can hope for is the confidence that the world will treat them right. 

3. You are picky with whom you share your writing. When you need encouragement, you invite your mother over for a read. “Oh, darling! I loved every single syllable of it!” (What else would you expect from Mother Dearest?) When you feel ambitious, you seek out someone who hasn’t fallen in love with your words as deeply as you have, someone whose constructive criticism will better your piece. 

2. Others think you’re wordy. Brief email replies are non-existent in your world, and you hate Twitter because it’s a game of Revision just to be able to tweet. 

1. No matter how many words you’ve written over your lifetime, there will always be more waiting for their turn in your pen. 

Because Jen Hatmaker Told Me To

Things I love: sarcasm, the smell of books, children (yours, mine, the loud one in the next aisle, any and all of them), sleeping, using the restroom without interruption, laughing so hard incontinence becomes an issue, and WORDS.

Things I hate: loud noises, multi-tasking (how have I made it so long as a teacher then?), questioning myself (oh, see what I did there?), arguing with my husband or children, the dark, and waiting for feedback after clicking “publish” on my blog.

Jen Hatmaker posted some valuable advice on her blog last month, and in it she encouraged quiet writers like myself to force ourselves to write, write, write and publish, publish, publish.

Easy for her to say… She’s sitting on the sunny side of publishing, with a few or a dozen or a million or so books penned in her hand, something like 8 trillion followers on her blog, and pretty entertaining appearances on HGTV. But, I think she is pee-your-pants funny, so I’ll at least humor her and force myself to write, write, write and publish, publish, publish this week.

Writing for a public, knowing actual eyes that belong to actual people will read your words and will form actual opinions of you is HARD. You feel vulnerable and oddly defensive. You know that most of what you publish will fall on deaf ears. But… you know in the deepest parts of your heart the power found in words. “Words are power” they say. And when it’s your words that resonate with readers, you feel like you’ve hit the grand slam of publishing. Every once in a while, you print something really worthwhile. And it’s satisfying… and exhilarating… and terrifying all at once to understand the impact you’ve had on another person because of your words.

I think that’s why I so deeply cherish my love-hate relationship with writing. Much like my relationship with Grey’s Anatomy, which is obviously past its expiration date, submitting myself to an affair with Writing will inevitably be painful, but I just can’t quit it.

To the other Quiet Writers out there like me: it’s intimidating, this publishing process. However, let’s agree we owe it to ourselves to keep writing, even when we cringe at the thought of hitting “publish” and our dismal stats stare back at us from the dashboard.

No matter how busy we find ourselves or how demanding our “real” jobs feel (10 school days until my STAAR test! EEK!), let’s vow to keep publishing.

Even when you are so exhausted, you fall asleep at 7:45, foolishly thinking you’ll just lay down for a minute to pat your son’s back while tucking him in for the night.

Even when your schedule is so tight, the only pedicure you can swing is soaking your feet in the baby’s bath.

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Even when your kids’ lunch consists of an eclectic mix of gogurt, pop tarts, and fruit snacks because saying “a trip to the store is long overdue” is a gross understatement.

Even when your gourmet dinner is courtesy of Sonic.

Even when date night means you’re still awake when your man changes the channel to the 9:05 late start baseball game.

Even when you’re so pressed for time, your Quiet Time consists of a quick scroll through Instagram for a brief reflection on Priscilla Shirer’s inspirational quote of the day. (That makes it Biblical, right? That’s basically like reading the Bible.)

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Even when some days leave you so frazzled, you utter a not-so-silent prayer instead of losing your mind on your 8-year-old who asks about his video game time for the 64859964.5 time in one day, even though you created an elaborate video game schedule to avoid this exact conversation.

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Even when you create a new version of the messy bun because you realize in the haste of your rushed mornings this week, you’ve already worn your hair up every day. And now it’s Thursday.

And when you’ve typed an ENTIRE 700 word post using only your index finger and an iPhone because your computer is on the fritz and your last shred of sanity is hanging on by a mere thread… (Not that I’ve done that. Not that I’m doing that right now. Not that I’m DYING INSIDE waiting for our tax return so I can get a working laptop!)

And finally, when you know in your head that hard work pays off, but you’re growing impatient to see the proof.

Those are the times we push ourselves, Quiet Writers, and keep writing. Our words need to be published! We can leave them screaming in our heads, or we can disclose them to the public. Who knows? Maybe your next post will be your grand slam.