Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Novel Perceptions

As I’ve said before, everyone thinks he or she is capable of writing the next Great American Novel, but few actually follow through.  It’s that follow through that produces a remarkable effect when you let people in on your world.

Through work, I recently became associated with a new group of talented individuals who are up and coming in the company.  Part of getting to know each other included telling things about ourselves that we felt others would find interesting.  After the standard trope about family and background, I divulged two facts – 1) that I’m personally ungooglable(that’s why I go with RD Meyer rather than Russ Meyer – go ahead and look that name up, but don’t do it from a work computer), and 2) that I’ve written nearly ten books and will publish the first next May.

All heads in the room immediately turned.  Some wanted to know what I would do with all the money I was bound to make, not realizing that most writers don’t reach the level of James Patterson.  To others, this somehow made me instantly smart in their world.  And yet more became very intimidated when we started exchanging position papers on stuff.

There seems to be an air of instant intellectual credibility one gains whenever acknowledging that you’ve written a novel.  Never mind that none of them have ever read a single thing I’ve written – it could’ve been a re-creation of Pregnesia – the fact that I’d taken the time to write a full length novel made them think I was a literary genius…or at least more well versed than any of them.

I think some writers revel in this perception, but it gave me more a sense of responsibility than anything.  I felt I needed to make sure my work justified that admiration.  It’s not that I haven’t worked hard, but any fool with a computer can crap out words on a page.  When people think you need to be a great writer to complete a novel, you have some duty to not let them down.

Yes, it made me feel good.  I felt smarter, and I held my head high for a few days.  Still, somewhere deep in my gut, I wondered if I was worth that perception.  After all, it’s not like I’m yet published, and I’m certainly not yet successful in the world of published authors.  I guess I just need to be sure that my credibility doesn’t crash the moment someone reads my first book.

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