"So what are you doing today?" Baby asked me as she was getting ready for school this morning.
For some reason, Baby likes asking me questions like that. Like, what did you do today? What did you write about? Who did you interview? Who did you have meetings with and what did they want?
And most of the time, I feel like an eight-year old again, with my mother asking what happened at school, and me giving her my typical answer:
My mother was the principal at the primary school I attended, and I learnt early on that I couldn't talk about what I did with the other kids ( especially if we shouldn't have), or if I was doing not doing well on a subject (felt like I was tattling on the teachers).
And I know I can't give Baby the same answer, because I want her to give me as much detail as possible about her day, and conversation has to be two-way.
Also, I work from home, and telling Baby about what I do gives her a concept of my work ( in the absence of my going to an office like some of her friends' parents do) and helps her understand why I have to work long hours when I have a deadline.
Still, sometimes she gives me an incredulous look when I reply with, "nothing much. I spent most of the day writing."
Of course she knows I spent most of the day writing. Writing what, exactly? That's what she wants to know. And nope, the "it was mostly grown-up stuff which I doubt you'd be interested in" doesn't work either.
Anyway, my problem chatting to non-writers in my family about what I do is that:
a) I think they'd find it details of the writing process very boring. I sit in front of my computer all day telling stories, whether it's articles, blog posts or even fiction. There are days when I don't even see anyone else besides the helper and my dogs. And I love the whole writing process. But how interesting can that be for someone else?
b) I think most people just want their information technology tools to work. I write about IT sometimes, and unless the people I talk to are also in the business, they don't really want to know how IT works. Which takes us back to the point I made about boring stuff.
c) Write more, talk less - I feel more comfortable writing about something, rather than telling people that I'm going to write about it. Then the people in my life can see the results.
Anyhoo, the question I wanted to ask was, do you chat about your work with the people in your life? Do you tell them what project/story you're working on? And what are the advantages and disadvantages of talking about your writing with people in your life?
It depends largely who it is. I share different things with different people. Friends know to go look at my blog to see how I am as a person and what is going on in my life.
My work writing I share with those who are interested but I know there are not that many that are going to share my passion for green parenting and cloth nappies for example.
My kids are a bit young and so they also don't understand why mom spends such long hours at the computer. But I try share as much as they can understand if they ask.
Hi D, yes, I do, to Andrew in particular as he is very interested - who are you talking to, what are you doing ... etc, etc. He has even said that when he is older he would like to learn to transcribe, and the plan is that when he is in high school he will earn some extra money by learning to transcribe. He is as curious as Baby sounds - maybe a Gemini thing? Lol. Brandon is not that interested, but we will see what happens as he gets older.
Ms Lona-Lee talks about the fact that she's writing, but she doesn't usually talk much about the process of writing. Little Miss often reads the post and reads snippets of the novel. But my writer friends just cheer me on without actually asking too much detail and my non-writing friends take it as either easy for me or so difficult that they can't comprehend someone who does it willingly and gladly. I'm usually articulate but this seems like aimless rambling!
My kids peek over my shoulder often while I'm writing and ask what it is about. I summarize mostly but once in awhile, I read bits of it.
I also sometimes tell people what I'm writing for the accountability of doing it just so I have pressure to keep plugging on something that is a challenge. But most things, I just write and tell after.
For me its a bit difficult because my writing is so personal that I think people may not be interested in me relating the story verbally, so I rather let them see the end result then we talk about it once they read what I've written. with my niece its different cause I think she is at that age where she wants to draw write & paint, so the minute she sees me writing, she usually asks questions a typical 7 year old will ask & I try to be as simple as I can & and answer the how, who, where, what 7 when until she looses interest & goes on about her business.
I dont write for a living and hate my job so the short answer is NO!
But most people in my life know that everything that happens may end up on my blog :) Sometimes I do talk about it get ideas and perspective!
I wish my husband was actually interested in half the stuff I write ;-) He's not a reader, so if I need him to know what I'm writing about or want his opinion, I have to talk about it. But even then, I try to only tell him (and other friends) the bits that will be interesting.
For example, I'll tell my girlfriends about work I'm doing for a women's mag if it relates to them, but I won't tell them about the technical stuff I write that my husband enjoys hearing about because they'd be bored stiff. And vice versa.
So it seems that many of us choose bit that we know would be interesting to talk about to our family and friends, but there are things we keep to ourselves because we don't think they'd be interested.
@Ms Lona-Lee - Isn't it strange that about 20 years after we've known each other, it's only the past year that we've started to chat more about our writings than we ever before?
@Tamara- I feel you. There are times when I wish the rest of my family ( not just Baby and my younger sister) were interested in half the stuff I write. My father was interested, and insisted on reading all the stuff I wrote, even the unpublished pieces. And he collected clips of my work.
@BeckyJoie - It works differently for me. When I'm under pressure, I don't feel to be my best. So the more important a project is to me, the less I talk about, because I'm afraid of failing publicly.
@Gaynor - Andrew is turning out to be a very responsible young men.
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