Being a Secret Writer

For some writers, admitting you are a writer is the first step to recovery from hiding your writing habit away.

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I started writing a long time ago, but it was a secret. It was shameful. Who the hell did I think I was?

Is this a familiar feeling? It always amazes me when people just go out there and publicly declare they are writers. Aren’t you afraid of judgement? Criticism? Aren’t you afraid people will think you are a freak? So I used to write in secret. I remember telling my friend I was writing a screenplay; it was greeted by a scoff and a silence, like she had no idea what to say to that. I still have that screenplay. I worked on my craft hard and long, I had been learning to write for the pleasure of other people for around fifteen years, and yet it was only a few years ago that I had the confidence to show my work and say “I am a writer.” It’s only a recent thing where I read other people’s work and compare my own to theirs instead of hiding mine away.

I used to treat writing like it was my dirty little secret: hiding my documents, keeping my stories to myself, generally acting like some kind of junkie who had to keep her habit on the down-low. I have even shredded books before because I didn’t want anyone to find them and know I had written them. Not because they were shit—at least I don’t think they were—but because I didn’t want anyone to think I was so self-indulgent that I had the audacity to try and write a book.

Be proud if you write as you are a writer. I’m not embarrassed by my habit anymore, I don’t think there is anything wrong with little old me trying to impart my wisdom and stories on the world. It won’t be the best thing you have ever read—I’m not Tolstoy by any stretch of the imagination, and I know where I sit in the market—but hopefully if you do ever read something I have written then some part of it will stay with you, and that’s all any writer can ask for.

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Katerina is the author of the Sunday Times bestselling crime thriller ‘The Teacher’ and number 1 Kindle bestselling novel ‘The Secret’.

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