Coming Out of the Literary Closet
A man writing as a woman
A few years ago I decided to challenge myself as a writer. It’s a good idea to do this from time to time in order to grow as a writer.
I had already written a couple of novels that had female protagonists but I wanted to go deeper than that. With those novels it was still me, a male, doing the writing in third person. What I challenged myself to do was to write AS a woman. I wasn’t sure I could do that but I tried anyway.
I ended up writing a novel in first person as a woman.
As a male, to do that I had to fully disengage from my maleness and go deep, deep inside to find my female essence. The female me. All humans have both male and female energy and normally one of those energies is dominant — and that dominant energy may or may not correspond to the physical gender of their body. But we all have both male and female essence within us.
The hardest part was disengaging from my maleness. My male energy had been dominant for many decades and it did not easily step out of the way. The same goes for my ego which has always worked in tandem with that male energy. Maleness, I learned, was a lifelong habit for me. Although I had been on a quest to understand my female energy for a good portion of my life, I never succeeded in fully putting my male energy aside in order to step fully into my female energy and this challenge of writing as a female really helped me to come close to doing that.
I learned a great deal from this writing challenge. I learned that the female me has a much different writing style than the male me has. And I learned that the female me has a much better sense of humor than the male me has. Most importantly, I learned that the female me isn’t nearly as mentally fucked up as the male me is. She has a vibrant self-esteem, is incredibly brave, honest, adventurous, sexy, and confident. And she’s smart. It was a profound experience getting inside her and being her and expressing through her. Like I said, I learned a lot.
Once the novel was finished I ran into a dilemma. The dilemma, of course, was all in my head. It was a dilemma the male me couldn’t figure out.
After re-reading the finished novel — and laughing uproariously throughout — I thought, “Holy shit! I can’t publish that under my name. What would people think? My readers would think that I had been taken over by someone else. They might wonder if I had had a sex change operation or something. The writing was so different they would think that someone had me tied to a chair and had taken over my name to publish under. Surely it wasn’t the same person who wrote this novel.
And it wasn’t! It was the female deep inside me who wrote it. It wasn’t me. How could I publish it under my name?
So I didn’t. I published it under a female nom de plume. I was afraid to put my name on it plus I was also curious to see if she would sell more books than I did. It didn’t take long for me to realize how stupid I was being.
If I had published it under my name I could have immediately marketed it to my base of readers and I would have had some immediate sales. But I couldn’t do that because of my little secret. So the novel went out as a first-time novel by an unknown artist even though it was my fifth novel. I sabotaged its success. And it went nowhere. Of course I did not promote it AT ALL. How could I promote it when it was written by “someone else” with a different name?
So the book went nowhere and sold only a tiny handful of copies before I pulled it. I’ve been sitting on it ever since. I think I had some idiotic idea that I would wait until I’m a little more successful and then whip it out and republish it a la Stephen King/Richard Bachman. Of course my writing success isn’t even remotely close to Stephen King’s and if I wait until it is the novel might not ever get published.
I knew I had to get over myself and come out of the closet with it. Those very few close friends who have read it all said the same thing. They all said that I should own it and publish it under my name.
Well, as with many people who are deciding whether or not to come out of the closet, I have been vacillating and procrastinating and trying not to think about it. It’s been four years now, though, and I’m tired of having a secret. I’ve finally decided to come out of the literary closet and publish the novel under my name. I’m tired of sitting on it and having it at the back of my mind. I want to be done with it.
I hereby proudly proclaim to the world that I wrote a novel as a woman.
As everyone knows, I am a HUGE fan of Medium so I have decided to publish it right here on everyone’s favorite platform, Medium. I’ve chopped it up into 7 parts and I’ll be publishing a part or two every day over the next week.
The parody novel, by the way, is about a woman named Bernadette who is a ranking member of the super-secret International Order of Rainbow Patrollers. It’s her memoir of her education on Rainbow Mojo and what she had to go through to become a member of this secret organization and she also reveals what this secret organization is up to.
If you’re ready for much laughter and adventure you can start reading it here:
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