Saturday, January 9, 2010

Do You Share???

As a writer, I am super secret about my Works-In-Progress. As in, I don’t even talk about what I’m working on other than to say “my secret project.” I’m afraid of “The Jinx.” I have this fear that somehow actually breathing the words out loud, putting them out into the universe, will somehow ruin my Mojo, block my Chi, whatever you want to call it.

I call it: The Jinx.


I’ve always been this way, to the point that when I announced that THE BODY FINDER had sold, I got a lot of this from my friends:

Friends: You write?

Me: Yup.

Friends: For how long?

Me: *shrugs* Forever.

Friends: I didn’t know that.

That’s right, they didn’t know…because of The Jinx.

If I’d told them I was writing, maybe I wouldn’t have been able to finish. And when I was done writing and was querying, telling them might have meant that my query letters would have spontaneously self-combusted in the inboxes of every agent they were sitting in…possibly burning down entire buildings in the process. I couldn’t have lived with that. That’s how The Jinx works.

So I keep it to myself, for the most part, telling only a select few who I know are immune to The Jinx. My husband, of course, my mom, my agent, my editor…even, occasionally, a friend or two who manages to catch me off-guard. And then I have to convince myself that they, too, are impervious to The Jinx’s impressive reach.

I’m awed by the bravery of those of you who are willing to share your work, posting Tuesday Teasers and sneak peeks online. Very, very courageous, flaunting your snippets in the face of danger…like waving a red flag in front of a charging bull. Bravo, I say! Bravo!

Me, I prefer to operate under the radar. Keep my head low and avoid eye contact with The Jinx whenever possible. No Tuesday Teasers from me…

Yeah, that’s the level of crazy I’m living with.

22 comments:

Kimberly Derting said...

My "Jinx" looks suspiciously like a Gremlin...

Mandy said...

Ah, Gremlins. I used to love that movie. And don't worry, everone has something crazy about them. As long as The Jinx doesnt get you, and your books succeed, who cares how many people you told in the begining?

Frankie Diane Mallis said...

Aww I used to be like this too but now clearly, I put it all out there although when I wrote the current draft of my WIP I refused to tell my critique group was I was up to and then told one when I was halfway through and swore her to secrecy and it was the jinx, so I think aside from when Im actually working on my rought draft of my WIPs now Im like that, but everything else I share.

Kim Harrington said...

I am exactly the same way! I keep it secret because I fear the jinx or Murphy's Law.

Kimberly Derting said...

Frankie - Yours are some of the sneak peeks I read, so don't get me wrong, I LOVE reading other people's teasers. I'm glad you're sharin'!

Kim - Maybe someday we'll be brave enough to sneak a little something out there in advance, just to see what happens...

Or not.

jessjordan said...

Ack! The Jinx is a Gremlin?? Well, I *used* to be all brave and shit, but not now that I know that. Gremlins are creepy. I'm going into super stealth mode, pronto.

jessjordan said...

But wait ... what if I'm just really careful and don't get The Jinx wet?

Kimberly Derting said...

Jess, no! I do not (I repeat, I DO NOT) want others to stop posting! I was afraid that revealing this information might, in fact, cause some sort of internet hysteria. Just take a breath and remember, if it hasn't noticed you yet you're probably safe.

Oh, and of course, never EVER get it wet. Duh!

Little Ms J said...

Ok, so is that a Gingerbread man missing his head in your Jinx's hand? That's pretty effed up, Kim. Pretty effed up. What did a Gingerbread man ever do to anybody?

I used to be top secret about writing, but I need people to ask me how it's going. I can get a little lazy otherwise.

Kimberly Franklin said...

I'm the same way...kind of. People know I write, however I now refuse to tell anyone (with a few exceptions)about the stories I'm writing--mostly because I fear The Jinx. I've experienced The Jinx before and it's not fun. Not fun at all!

Kristi said...

I'm not a Tuesday Teaser kind of gal either. If people ask, I'll tell them -- but I don't offer it on my own. So I totally relate to your kind of crazy :)

The Blogger Girlz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Blogger Girlz said...

I'm definatly a Teaser Tuesday type of girl, I love sharing my writing with other people! But maybe I should learn to be more like you and keep my writing under wraps because after a while I tend to lose interest in the prject if I talk about it too much...It's a vicious cycle :P

~Ella

Chelle said...

I feel quite the same. And it's so strange to see this today because I swallowed a lot of doubt, anxiety, etc., and emailed a friend, asking if they would critique the first section of my WIP. The thought terrifies me on many levels, one of which what you talk about in your spot-on post. I *do not* like talking about my story in any way, not even little tiny details, so if she says yes it's going to be good for me, I'm sure, but tough.

Shelli said...

everyone is different - I think you do what you're comfortable with. I dont post my work - but I do share it with writer friends I trust! I need the feedback. YOu're just so damn good - you dont need any feedback and your boosk end up "irresistable!"

(uh oh am i going to keep you awake again?)

Kiersten White said...

66 more days? Seriously? Sigh.

I have very brief descriptions of my finished stuff, but since I signed with an agent (and got that whole book deal thing) I don't post any snippets or tell much about new WIPs. But I don't think I have anything as terrifying as that Jinx running around...

Please keep him on a short leash?

Leigh said...

1. No such thing as jinxes.
2. And yet...

I don't talk about WIP to anyone except my husband, and that's only during the brainstorming. Once I start the project, I read nothing out loud, offer no sample pages, nada, until a first draft is complete. Why? Because I don't want to lose the fire. If I tell too many people, then...I've told the story. Why write it?

Plus, ya know, I don't wanna jinx myself.

Patti said...

I"m with Shelli, I don't post my work, but I do share with others. It's been very helpful for me and I've found excellent critique partners.

Bridgette said...

I'm glad to know that real, published authors don't like telling other people about their works-in-progress. It makes me feel better about being quiet about what I'm working on right now. I've always told people before when I was working on a story, and I've never finished one before. I'm not sure what my Jink would look like. Probably two really huge dragons.

Donna Gambale said...

I don't mind telling a bit about my WIP. I don't fear a jinx, but I'm not overly chatty about it. I lost my fear of others reading my work during a couple fiction workshop courses (fear of rejection, not fear of a jinx had held me back), and to me, posting a sneak peek is just an extension of that. I adore feedback anyway... mostly because I want to know if I'm going in an awful direction before I spend hours on it!

Heidi Willis said...

Well, when I was only HOPING to finish a book SOMEDAY, I shared little snippets – like a sentence or two – on the blog, but not the whole plot.

Now I'm much more cautious. Mostly though because I've started three books and can't figure out which one to finish, and to keep posting paragraphs about a book that next week I won't be writing is just downright embarrassing.

And somehow being published makes me feel much more guarded about my work.

Heather Hedin Singh said...

I find it hard to share with others--I'm such a perfectionist, but I know I need to get better about getting my work ready to read. Thanks for the post!