Embarrassing Yourself (And Your Kids)
Happy Monday! It’s Overshare Day on Nikki’s Blog, so settle back in your comfy chairs and get ready to learn things you never wanted to know about me. Don’t worry, I have an actual reason for the information. Not a great reason, but a reason. So here goes.
One of the joys in my sad, pathetic housewife life is embarrassing my children. I do it as regularly and publicly as I can. (Just yesterday, I sang and danced Lady Gaga’s song Telephone (while on Grandma’s boat on Lake Austin – sound travels better over water) to my two boys and their 10 year-old cousin Josh. They all hid under beach towels, but that did not deter me. No! I made it all the way through to the Beyonce part of the video. Now that’s dedication.) I was deemed the most embarrassing mom in the universe. Score!
I also do embarrassing things at home, too. And you know what? The boys don’t mind that so much, as long as no one else can hear me. Like, for two or three months last year, as soon as the kids arrived home from school, I got out my guitar and played a made-up song about farting called Bust a Grumpy while the boys danced on the bed.* The refrain was plebeian but, Oh, the verses! Full of all sorts of details describing flatulence. (I am, you know, a published poet. You got mad word skillz, ya use ’em. LOL)
I digress.Where was I going with this? Oh, yes. Willing to embarass yourself… and those you love. As a writer, you gotta do it. Come on, it takes a pretty thick ego to call yourself a writer, and a thicker one to write a novel that you send out into the cold, hard world. It’s even harder to do something novel with your novel, or whatever you’re writing. To take a risk, to do something not quite like what everyone else is doing? Terrifying. Potentially excruciatingly embarrassing. Build up that ego; you’re going to need it.
There are going to be plenty of people who will tell you that your novel in verse/picture book in emails/YA paranormal romance about sentient cheeses is the worst idea they’ve ever heard. (Hopefully not your beta readers.) But write it anyway. Will it get published? Probably not. Most things don’t. But will you experience an almost transcendent joy in the creation of that thing that your uncool heart/imagination/Dork-Muse called forth into being? Yes, you will. And that’s the real payoff.
When I daydream, I hear children laughing. Sometimes it’s my real kids laughing about the bedtime story I made up for them that night. (Talk about payoff. All my bedtime stories hit the bestseller lists. 😉
Someday I hope it will be the children reading my work. It could be that they’ll laugh at me, instead of with me. So what? I stopped trying to be cool long ago, and I never was very good at it anyway. What I want to be good at is telling my stories in a new way. Even if that means making myself look like an idiot. Even if it means mortifying all those associated with me.
It probably will. Hey, I have a whole lot of kids, family members, and beta reader friends to embarrass. I am so blessed.
Do you ever find yourself worried about what others will think of your work? Do you ever censor yourself to avoid embarrassment… or even hide your manuscripts in a drawer/your light under a bushel to avoid being laughed at/rejected? Don’t we all know writers who do that? Let’s not be that kind of writer, Friends.
Write well, and bravely. Have fun with your work!
News: An editor of a literary journal nominated a short story of mine for an award/competition thingy. I’ll give more details later, if anything comes of it. For now, I’m just feeling all warm and fuzzy knowing he thought my little story was good enough to be sent on!
* They made me swear never to tell anyone about this. What can I say? I’m a fiction writer. I lie all the time.