The Valiant Little Tailor and Other Brave Declarations

If ever there was a fairy tale character to look up to, I think Grimm’s The Valiant Little Tailor should be at the top of the list. Here was a man who had no problems telling the world about his amazing deed, even though the “seven in one stroke” he killed were only flies who wanted his jam. It led to other great deeds with giants, unicorns and even marrying a princess.

The reason I admire the Valiant Little Tailor (or VLT for short) is his ability to declare his accomplishments to anyone and everyone he meets. I think we all have parts of ourselves of which we’re proud, but don’t date tell anyone. Mine is easy—I’m a writer.

I know that sounds like a statement from Captain Obvious, but I find it challenging to tell people I’m a writer. I have this recurring fantasy where I finally tell everyone while simultaneously passing around copies of my newly published book. In a sense, I’m a closeted writer and I only tell people I trust to keep it quiet.

But why? As I continue to navigate the publishing world, words like platform and following keep popping up. I know my silence will only hurt my chances of generating buzz and keeps me from things like Facebook and Twitter. Even this blog has the name FairytaleFeminista, but I’ve never listed my name. It’s hard to put yourself out there, but people who want to make their living in creative fields have to do it constantly.

Writing becomes so personal because it’s mostly you and your words inhabiting a cozy universe of your making. In this world you can delete the unpleasant bits, reword the awkward phrases, and configure personalities that fit into your creation. When your writing becomes public, you can’t erase what other people think, do, or write about your work. And honestly, who’s a bigger control freak than a person invents people and decides their fates based on the needs of a plot. Doctors have nothing on writers when it comes to a God complex!

Was VLT on to something? Should we just emblazon our truth on a sash and wear it out in the world? When is the right time to “come out” to friends and family about your literary aspirations? Will it be more like a debutant announcing herself at a cotillion or am I declaring my alternative lifestyle, horrifying the practical 9 to 5ers in my life? Well, I’ve taken a few positive steps in that regard and introduced myself as a writer to a stranger. That was easy. Let’s try some more.

Hello, my name is Ivia Cruz and I’m a writer. I’ve written three novels and I’m working on a fourth.

That felt good.

Now what should I do about that LinkedIn page?

How about you? What’s your VLT story?

7 thoughts on “The Valiant Little Tailor and Other Brave Declarations

  1. Own it, brave writer! Congratulations on coming out!

    My VLT story has mostly been positive. When I tell people that I’m a writer, this is how the conversation goes most of the time:

    Other: Have you published anything yet?
    Me: No, I’m working on a novel.
    Other (with real or feigned interest): Wow! What is it about?
    Me: Blah-blah-blah (I’m still working on a succinct log line, so I tailor it to the interest-level of the person who asked the question).
    Other: Wow! I’d love to read it once it’s published. (OR: I’m not really into fantasy but my husband/wife/friend/child LOVES these kind of stories.) Let me know how it goes, okay?
    Me: Thanks! I’ll keep you in the loop. 🙂

    Occasionally some have said things like, “Are you *still* not done with your book? Haven’t you been writing it for, like, ages now?”
    My answer to that, depending on which side of the bed I woke up from, goes along these lines:
    1. Wow. Isn’t that a rude question to ask someone?
    2. Tolkien took thirteen years to write The Lord of the Rings.
    3. *smiling sweetly* I’ll keep you in the loop.

    Phew! Now that was a long comment!

    • I’ve only had occasion to tell other writers that I am a writer (other than my immediate family that it), so they understand what really goes into having to write a book. Now I get to see the other side and come up with my own answers to the inevitable conversations that will follow. At least I hope it starts conversations. Thanks for the support!

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