Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group. (click on the link for a complete list of participants) I'm sure by now I don't have to explain the purpose of the group, so I'm just going to jump right into it.
Outside of this blog and select social media forums, I do not advertise myself as a writer.
When people I meet in the world ask what I do, I generally tell them I do nothing. I'll admit to working in retail, but I don't tell them I write novels.
Because it leads to questions. And questions always lead me to panic.
What's your book about?
Is it published?
Can we read it?
When are you going to publish it?
And suddenly I am a deer caught in headlights. I am a feral cat trapped in a corner, preparing to fight my way free. I am freaking out. My chest gets all tight and my pulse is racing, and all I want to do is crawl into a hole and cease to exist.
And I know I should be glad there are people out there who are interested and curious enough to ask these questions, but hearing them always makes me feel claustrophobic. I could be in the Grand Canyon, but the second someone says "Oh, you're a writer?" I'm in the smallest car in the world, and it's packed with clowns.
I hate clowns.
This is not to say that no one out in the "real world" knows my secret identity (slower than George R.R. Martin, more incapable than...something really incapable (sorry, I've currently got nothing...which actually makes this part kind of ironic and hysterical), and able to gingerly step over large stacks of books with a single, slightly unbalanced step, it's M.J. Fifield!) because there are those that do. I have attempted in the past to correct this problem through practice, practice, practice.
But the problem only seems to be getting worse. As my writers' group witnessed yesterday when I was surrounded by five members with rapid-fire questions surrounding the current status of my manuscript.
I stumbled, I stammered, I set a small fire to divert attention elsewhere.
Just kidding. I didn't stammer.
Just kidding. I didn't do any of those things. I made some noises that probably sounded like I was choking on my own tongue before apologizing for my lack of social skills and ability to talk about anything. Then I hightailed it out of there and went to bang my head against the wall for a while.
Definitely not a good sign of things to come.
Anyway, I think that's going to do it for me today, and because I have a double shift at The Store coming up shortly, I'm going to be late getting to your posts. But I will get there.
So thanks for stopping by today. It's always appreciated.