Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Benefit of Telling

The Benefit of Telling

by Suzanne Young Cordatos

Writers hear it often: Show, don’t tell.

I am not going to argue with that sage advice. I want to ask: Do you tell people that you are a writer?

Do you say it confidently? Apologetically? Like your lunch is stuck in your throat?

A friend once confided that her husband believed she was having an affair—until she confessed her secret habit. Writing!

I used to keep writing a secret, too.
Bottled up, writing was a genie in the corner of my soul—released only when I was left alone for great gobs of time. I used to hide notebooks in the bathroom cupboard for middle of the night urges—of the writing muse kind. I used to tell myself I would free the genie “someday” when I made it big. 

Stephen King, Jackie Collins, J.K. Rowling BIG. Until then, what was the point of baring my soul?

Not anymore. “Someday” is a faraway land that doesn't exist. Now exists. Today exists. If you are writing today, say it out loud. Now! “I AM A WRITER.” Your writing will grow wings.

Benefits of telling:

            Say those four words with confidence.
            Write more often, now that you do it openly!
Seek out writing connections every time you leave the house.
Join national associations; they exist for nearly every genre.
Attend regional conferences
Receive help from local critique groups.
Contribute to local critique groups.
Foster writing friends, as close as neighbors. The “You write? So do I!” is bonding excitement.
Enter contests and improve your chances to occasionally place—or even win.
Your family may surprise you and take your goals seriously.
Long-term networking efforts will pay off when it comes time to promote your work!

Let me know in the comments how sharing has affected your work!


  1. During the seventh grade,I told a friend I planned to write a book; who laughed. I never shared again until much, much, much later, after I had short stories, poetry, and articles published.

    1. Imagine the stories that would never get told if writers gave up when someone made fun of the dream. Thanks for sharing, Vivian!

  2. Great post Suzanne! Sometimes people do laugh at us when we share our dreams. Tell them anyway! I am often guilty of almost apologizing for my writing, especially since I have no published books yet. I am going to re-read this and carve the words into my heart: I am a writer!

    Thanks for the terrific advice and encouragement.

    Linda A.

    1. Linda, I love that confidence. Wear it like your best perfume.

      Another great benefit of sharing -- a good friend will bug the heck out of you until you've finished writing the book. It'll keep you on your toes!

  3. Interesting topic, Suzanne. I don't have a problem telling people I'm a writer. I don't think theyt understand what that actually means - this especially true if you're a ghostwriter. Fortunately, it doesn't bother me. :)

    1. Hi Karen, you must be a lucky exception to the rule. I kept it a secret from everyone except my twin sister (who also writes) until the day I got an email announcing I won a small writing contest. My husband's eyes popped out of his head he saw it. Certainly helped him take my "hobby" seriously.

  4. I'm glad I met you after you came out of the closet and were willing to share secrets of the craft with me. For me, the biggest benefit to telling others that you're a writer is that you hear it through your own ears and somehow that makes it more real.