Friday, 18 December 2009

Keeping your writing notes secret....

I'm a very private person and the thing I'm the most secretive about is the fact that I'm a writer. I don't tell anyone. I don't even write under my own name. If you called 'Ann' in a store, I may look around because I often sign my emails and my books that way, but no one knows what I look like or anything about my real life. On this earth, maybe eight people know I write and only because I had to tell them...

That being said, I carry around with me a writing journal to keep notes and such with me. Just in case. One of my worst fears however is that someone will find the notebook. I guard the book more carefully than I do my wallet. Steal my identity, steal my wallet, take my husband, but don't steal my notebook.

I have been trying to figure out ways to use my notebook without anyone being able to read it. Here are some of my thoughts:

1) I could learn shorthand - no one, that I know, knows how to read that anymore.

2) I could just abrviaveate all my words but I think that's too easy.

3) I could write in my code but it would take too long. This is two words: 233231*3224*23*22*32*23*233231 and not necessarily long words either.

Any suggestions? What do you do to protect your work?


Anonymous said...

You are crazy woman! LMAO. I love the secrecy. I don't quite understand it, but I love it. How about learning another language like Japanese and writing in that. Or write really really small. LOL Sorry, you know I can be too serious about anything. Great site. I'll make sure to keep an eye on it.

Ann Elle Altman said...

I could write backwards or make my own language up. Problem is, I'm too busy to make my own language up. I've already designed two different codes and my own way to write shorthand...what more do you want of me? (smile)


June G said...

Why do you feel the need to remain so secretive? Are you afraid of something? Do you tend to be compulsive about things? I have an issue with secrecy as well. I hope to become published and I intend to use my real name though I have considered otherwise. Sometimes I think I'm just being paranoid.

I'm a therapist by profession and tend to analyze everything; that's why I asked the questions at the beginning of the post. I'm not trying to be rude. It simply sounds like you may be a bit phobia prone. :-)

Ann Elle Altman said...

June, I'm not offended by your question. It's a valid question. Here are some of my reason...
1) It's true, I'm compulsive about things.
2) I'm incredibly shy so I tend to shy away from the spotlight.
3) People act differently around me when they hear I write. For example, when my first book came out, I told no one I knew personally except my immediate family (husband and son) and my two sisters (I didn't even tell my parents -- actually they still don't know because my dad loves the spotlight and would live vicariously through me.) Anyway... my sister told a friend and let her read the book, for some reason now, whenever I see that friend - who before had never talked to me - talks to me non-stop. I am her new best friend. This is the exact behavior I'm trying to avoid.

June G said...

"Ann", I can concur with what you're saying. When good fortune smiles my way, I rarely tell anyone except my husband and a close friend and sometimes, not even the friend! It's enough for me to have the personal knowledge of my success. I don't need validation from a number of people, many who are just being phony anyway.

The part about your father made me laugh though. Poor dad. He doesn't know what he's missing! :-)

Sarah at SmallWorld said...

I can relate. I definitely shy away from the term "writer" mostly because I don't feel like I am worthy. And yet--I understand on a certain level that I am a good writer. It's all so complicated!

DK said...

I just keep it in my pocket all the time... It never comes out, unless I need it. No-one ever suspects I have a booklet there, so nobody is interested :)

Anonymous said...

I understand the inclination to hide the fact that you're a writer a shy from the spotlight. I was a bit that way too, then it occurred to me I'm either in it or I'm not. If I intend to be pulished and be proud of my writing, then I must stand boldly and do so. So I did.

I think a lot of writers are naturally quiet and drawn inward.

Privacy is an issue for me as well. The Internet world scares me--Facebook, blogs, TNBW, etc. Your words are permanent over the Internet.

But again I figured--all or nothing.

(The part about your dad made me laugh, too. Mostly because it sounds so opposite from the way you describe yourself.)

I think readers can sense when they're unwelcome, and a reclusive person can sometimes appear unwelcoming. I'd hate for your shyness to hurt your sales. It sounds like you love writing but wish it could be a lucrative job without the publicity. Unfortunately, publicity comes with success in our chosen field.

That being said, the best writers are notorious for wanting that secluded cabin in the woods and avoiding the public eye. The fact that you duck attention, in my mind, adds value to your writing. I believe you're in it for the love of the art, and not the fame. Makes you the real deal in my mind.

Ann Elle Altman said...

I think though, with the advent of the internet, it's easier to be more creative with publicity. I have no problem blogging or twittering or even giving interview over the phone.

But, it's true, I would rather make little money and remain hidden than have success.

Ah, who knows, maybe my books will sell just because people love the mystery. I love Val Mcdermid's books and I've never met her. Agatha Christie was one of the most reclusive of writers and yet I've read all of her books.

Thanks everyone for the comments!