I've had a few run-ins recently with people who, while probably not being intentionally malicious, have shit on what I do. It's not the first time this kind of thing has happened. I realize that what I do isn't exactly like what most people do. I'm extremely lucky that I'm in a position where I can do what I love. Most people, for whatever reason, aren't so fortunate. While I'm still a bit reticent to write this post, I felt it was something I needed to do.
Since early 2008, when I packed away the day job, I've had 131 individual pieces of fiction published. (with reprints, that number is even higher) That includes appearances in 110+ anthologies, 16 novellas/novels, a few websites and three magazine appearances. Not too shabby, especially when I thought this whole writing thing would never amount to much. I'm so incredibly glad that I was wrong.
I keep tabs on my publication numbers, but I rarely crow about them. I don't really feel comfortable constantly reminding people of how many times I've been published. It always feels like bragging, and not in a good way. I'm jealous of people who view the whole process of publicizing their successes as nothing more than smart marketing. I wish I could think of it that way. And, I do...to a point. The rest always feels like patting myself on the back a little too hard. Which I don't like to do, lest other people think I'm a self-centered twit only concerned with Twitter followers and 'exposure'.
I came to realize recently that this reluctance is a big part of the problem. How can I expect other people to take what I do seriously when I downplay my own accomplishments all the time? I've actually caught myself saying out loud when people are impressed by my job, "It's really no big deal". Who fucking says that? Especially when it's a lie. Because, it is a big deal. A really big fucking deal if I do say so myself. Maybe if I was a little more 'shout it from the rooftops' about my writing, other people would be too. As it stands, my biggest champion isn't me...it's my mother-in-law, who tells everyone (and I do mean everyone) about her porn writing daughter-in-law.
That should be me telling everyone that, loud and proud. But, most times I'm shrugging when someone else is mentioning it, downplaying it all because on some level I'm still afraid people are going to judge or be offended. The funny part is, I have yet to meet anyone who has been offended. Not truly, anyway. I mean, sure, I've gotten the quizzical looks followed by "why?" when I reveal what I do for a living, especially when it comes up that I write primarily M/M fiction. As if I need some huge, existential reason. How about because I think it's freaking HOT!? And, if the evidence is to be believed, I'm at least fairly good at it. (once again, can't bring myself to say freaking amazing, even though from time to time, I think it's true) I'm sure there are people in my life who would be offended, but I can't really worry too much about that. At this point, it's really their problem, not mine.
I'm not writing this to fish for compliments or to get other people to pat me on the back. I'm really writing it to try and work out why I can't toot my own horn a little more. I mean, like I said before, if I act like what I do is insignificant, I'm sending the signal to other people that it is. And, that has to change. And, according to psychology stuff I've read on the Internet, acknowledging your problem is the first step to fixing it, so here it is.
My name is Heidi and I don't tell people I write smut with enough pride. Whew, that felt good. Now, on to step two....