The Secret Identity of Writers

iStock_000007377790XSmall I’m starting to wonder if all my writing friends have secret identities.

It started with my friend Chris. Chris writes very interesting nonfiction that requires lots and lots of research in very thick books with small print. She’s an amazing conference planner and retired co-RA of the Rocky Mountain SCBWI. She’s well-versed in Chinese culture and history, Socratic seminars, and how to engage a room full of squirmy middle schoolers.

In other words, on the surface, she’s a dyed-in-the-wool writer.

When no one’s looking, though, she becomes:


Okay, so maybe she doesn’t actually wear a cape, but she does adorn her walls with intricate fabric artwork, quilting pieces of the sort you expect to see in art galleries.

Another writer friend, Laura, likes to create elaborate fantasy worlds with cool magic systems. In them, she weaves tales of love and betrayal, discovery and redemption. She’s also a certified dream worker and knows more about dreams than you can shake a stick at.

But under the cover of the evening sky, Laura mixes multihued oil paints on swaths of blank canvas, like Van Gogh in hiding. And she’s good! Really, really good.

This makes me wonder about my other writing friends…

I get it, though. Even if you adore writing and can’t live without it, once you enter the publication game, it’s hard to shake that feeling that someone is looking over your shoulder, judging your words. Everything you write has to be “good enough.” There’s pressure, where once there was only the joy of creation.

When a writer takes up another art form, she can create without the pressure to produce something marketable. The only person she has to please is herself.

Wait—what’s that? Do *I* have a secret identity? Of course! Shh—don’t tell anyone, but outside the public eye, I become…



But it’s a secret. :)

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