Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Forbidden Phrases When a Writer is in Residence or Top 20 Things to NEVER Say to a Writer


Below is my list of comments I’ve received over the past years since I’ve come out as a writer. Following each is what I wanted to say. I’m happy to report that I’ve never (at least until now) given in to the temptation.

Top 20 Things to NEVER Say to a Writer!
  • 1. Are you published? (I really don’t have the space here to get into this. I usually just do a mental eye-roll.)
  • 2. I have an idea for something you should write about. We could split the profits. (yeah, I do all the work and you get half of almost nothing. Sounds like a deal to me…)
  • 3. I wrote a book, can you contact your publisher/agent for me? (You really wouldn’t like what I had to say about you.)
  • 4. Why don’t you take the day off, it’s not like you work for a living. (unprintable reply)
  • 5. Can I read your manuscript? (Like I don’t have enough stress in my life already)
  • 6. Writing must be the easiest job in the world. (If you like 20-hour days, pennies per hour, horrific critiques, and serving up your heart for others to chew on daily.)
  • 7. Anyone can write a book, what else do you do? (see number 6)
  • 8. You should get that published. (Really? Like I hadn’t thought of that.)
  • 9. I’ve heard that if you….you’ll be a much better writer. (Nothing I like better than advice from someone who has no clue.)
  • 10. Aren’t you finished with that yet? (I am, I just decided not to submit it.)
  • 11. I hate reading, it’s such a waste of time. (unprintable reply)
  • 12. Have you ever written anything I might have read? (Yes, if morons could read.)
  • 13. Will you read my manuscript? (*running and screaming in the other direction*)
  • 14. Are you still doing that writing thing? (Believe me, if I could quit, I would.)
  • 15. When can I get your book for free? (What part of “I do this for a living” do you not understand?)
  • 16. Can you edit/write my essay for me? (I write commercially, not academically. There is a difference.)
  • 17. Will you make me a character? (Only if I can kill you.)
  • 18. What do you do with all your spare time? (in the vein of number 17, why don’t you come over and find out…)
  • 19. Writing, can you make a living at that?

OR
  • 20. Writing, it must be nice to make so much money for not doing anything.


I’d love for you all to share your experiences with funny responses as the people around you commented on your writing life.

Don’t forget to join the conversation!
Blessings,
Edie

31 comments:

  1. I'm sitting here laughing my head off! I've heard so many of these. Here's a few to add to the list:

    1. When are you going to get a real job?
    2. Will you write my book for me? (for free, of course!)
    3. Oh, did you self-publish? (I didn't, but if I'd chosen to, what's wrong with that?)
    4. You must be rich now that you're published. (People in third world countries make more than writers.)


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Susan, I LOVE these! Thanks so much for dropping by, Blessings, E

      Delete
  2. Oh, you're not a REAL writer. (Said when I was asked what I wrote and I told this person I wrote for/edited magazines. Hmmm. Seems like I was meeting REAL deadlines and getting paid REAL money.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't believe I forgot that one! Thanks for adding it in - Blessings, E

      Delete
  3. My favorite was #5. That happened to me only in a weird way. One of my beta readers gave my manuscript to one of her book club members to read. Now this member is young, 25, and VERY outspoken. I've seen her tell authors to their face that she didn't like their book. I thought my career was over before it began. When I received an email from her, I sweat bullets for an hour before I had the courage to open it. It turns out she loved the manuscript! She continued to email me throughout the reading. But that's not the kind of beta test I recommend. LOL

    I've gotten the what do you have published that I might have read? I hated that. In fact, I'd gotten to the point where I didn't say I was a writer to strangers. I had enough friends who ask that stuff. :o}

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's always scary when it happens. I'm so glad it turned out well! Blessings, E

      Delete
  4. Very good! You forgot: "Will you still be my friend when you're famous?" and "You're gonna be a celebrity." (Fledgling that I am, I got these remarks.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Susan, that is a good one! Thanks for sharing, Blessings, E

      Delete
  5. I loved this. Funny, but unfortunately true. I have a great deal of these things said to me by my family. Love you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So true, sometimes family can be the worst. Blessings, E

      Delete
  6. One special delivery from the guys: "It's not a chick book, is it?" (Why yes, I suppose you could say it is. Also, you are not invited to my birthday.)

    And my answer for #15: "My *mother* is buying *her* copy." Suggested by none other than my mom. Love her! :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Brandy, love these! And I LOVE your mom's support for your career! Thanks for chiming in, Blessings, E

      Delete
  7. Edie, how timely. I had one of these conversations just Sunday.
    A dear older friend stopped me and said, "So what are you doing these days? Are you still teaching?"
    I smiled, mostly because I am really happy to be writing, "No, I'm not teaching, I'm writing"
    "Oh," he said then shined a kind smile, "then you're retired."
    "No, I'm not retired, writing is my job, and it's a lot of work."
    "Oh" He said then walked away.

    Seriously? He's still a sweet, dear, friend, but your comments rang true...non writers just do't get it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mary, I've come to realize that getting comments like these is proof I'm a REAL writer! Blessings, E

      Delete
  8. These are hilarious!! Thanks for a much-needed giggle. :)

    -Mary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mary, so glad I helped lighten your day! Blessings, E

      Delete
  9. Personally, I like number 17. Think they'd get the hint?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ellen, I doubt they would! Blessings, E

      Delete
  10. Love the questions! I have heard many of them myself. I especially love the wonderfully 'supportive' comments I have heard from family and friends. Like "I wish I could just sit around all day doing nothing and get paid for it" or "I have to go to my real job everyday." Since when did this nonsense come into play that if you are an artist of any type, you have to be dirt poor and starve. I have even had free newsletter subscribers quit because I dared to sell them something one time in 3 months. (I warned everyone ahead of time. We were launching our membership site for writers, The Kingdom of Paidalot, at the time.) They were offended that I would dare to demand to earn a living as a writer. By the way, I have been a part of several on-line writing groups with the same "starving artist" mentality. I am so glad to spend my time every day with writers in the Kingdom of Paidalot who are working toward earning what they deserve. I am glad that there are articles on the Internet like this that point out the ridiculous mentality we writers are subject to.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Valerie, that sounds like a GREAT site! Thanks so much for dropping by and sharing your thoughts! Blessings, E

      Delete
  11. I once had someone tell me, "You write novels? You must have ADD. (Attention Deficient Disorder.) I wanted to slap the crap out of her. Instead I looked her in the eye and said, "As a matter of fact, in my line of work it's a job requirement." It shut her up real quick.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gayle, that's a great comeback! Thanks for sharing, Blessings, E

      Delete
  12. My favorite is when people ask, "when are you going back to work for real, now that you finished your book." or when someone asks what my plans are for the day, and I say I plan on a few hours of writing, they reply with, "that's it?"

    ReplyDelete
  13. I can't believe you forgot the #1 comment I ALWAYS get: "Oh, I've been thinking about becoming a writer. I write terrific letters." I can't tell you how many times over the years I've gotten that one. I've been thinking, if someone says it to me in the future (or "I write terrific blog posts", which is the 2013 equivalent), I should reply, "Good. You'll get paid around the same amount for writing a novel." That'll shut 'em up quick. On the other hand, they'll probably also wonder why I'm doing it!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Further to #10: In answer to a snarky, "Haven't you finished that yet?"

    I inquired of the Snark, "What was the last book you read? Really? And how long did it take you to *read* it?"

    "I see," admitted the Snark, slowly, and that was the last I heard of it.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I have an English teacher friend who wanted to use one of my published articles in her classroom as an example to promote freelance writing as a career until she found out it had been edited. She said, "Oh, I thought it was yours, you know, that you had written the whole thing."

    Nope, I actually still need an editor. Oh well, so much for being a real writer. :)

    Got a kick out of your post and others' comments, Edie. Thanks for the laughs.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Yup. Been there. Heard that.

    ReplyDelete
  17. It's the creatives who are hard to understand, they say, but what will the world do without us, the people who LOVE to pen words to paper (or MS Word)?!

    ReplyDelete
  18. LOVE this, Edie! And yes, I've probably heard all of them, but the one that got me the most was in response to my asking if she'd studied the Writer's Market Guide:

    "Yea, I looked at that writers market thing, but there are so many publishers in there! I thought that since you've already got so much experience with it you could just tell me which ones would be a good fit for my book."

    Grrrr....

    ReplyDelete
  19. Glad I found this, it was a lot of fun. A writer friend of mine's Mother in Law thought his writing was a hobby until he took himself, his wife, and the Mother in Law to Hawaii on money he made as a freelancer. They she thought it was a real job.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I have not seen the #1 comment that I get. "Where do you get your ideas?" It's not really offensive, but it is a bit irritating. I usually change the subject at this point: "Lookit the jet trail that plane left!" Sometimes I say something like, "You didn't know about the idea fairy? No? If I put a $20 bill under my pillow, I wake up in the morning with a full blown novel plot." They usually get it and laugh. Me too. Thanks for 20 more laughs.

    ReplyDelete