Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Top 20 Scariest Things Ever Said to Writers

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

In honor of Halloween I thought I’d dust off this old post and share it again. It truly is scary what people will say to writers without thinking! 

I’ve also added my rebuttals to these thoughtless observations, and I’m happy to report that I’ve yet to give into the temptation to utter them aloud, no matter how badly I wanted to.

Top 20 Scariest Things Ever Said to Writers!
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

TWEETABLES

29 comments:

  1. Ah Ms. Edie, I see you've been listening into my conversations some how. Am certain you too can go way over twenty, as it seems so many come our way, sometimes from those inside the industry too. Thank you so much for your lighthearted approach to some of the challenges we face. Sad to say, but I am guilty of some of these comments myself. Have a blessed day.

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    1. Jim, I think we've each made one or two of these remarks ourselves - especially before we began writing seriously. Thanks for stopping by! Blessings, E

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  2. Edie, I love #17. I laughed so loud my cat jumped. My family keeps asking, "When are you going to make money at this?" I once thought writing was easy until I became a writer. God bless us one and all. Thanks for shedding light on this topic. I will post and Tweet.

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    1. Cherrilynn, it is amazing how our perspective changes! Blessings, E

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  3. Amazingly enough, I've experienced several of these comments too. My pet peeve is a derivative of #7 that implies something like this: "your work is not really work, and therefore unimportant. After all, you haven't had a book published yet, what's taking so long? Why are you wasting your time?" Iyiyi!😞

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    1. Rene, I've learned it's better to laugh than take them seriously! Thanks for sharing your experience! Blessings, E

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  4. Love, love, love! Sharing this. :)

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    1. Julie, so glad you liked it! Blessings, E

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  5. What a funny post (and kind of scary too). To think how little people value what we do.

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    1. Ingmar, you're so right. That's why it's vital that we're plugged into the larger writing community - so we can get support we need! Blessings, E

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  6. Such a great list! It might make a great stocking stuffer ...
    My favorite? "Oh, you're an author? I want to write a book one day ..." (Switch that to: "Oh, you're a pilot? I want to fly a plane someday." Or "Oh, you teach college? I want to do that one day." Because yes, yes, yes! Writers have to learn (study/take classes) before they can do what they do.

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    1. Beth, what a great idea (stocking stuffer)! And yes, that's a good way to turn it around. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Blessings, E

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  7. This list is spot-on, Edie. I found an easy way to end the "it's a hobby, not a real job" comments. Get a business license (only $35 in my county). Even my friend who started a small tech company and later sold it for eight figures stopped thinking of it as a hobby and started offering me useful business advice. Now that I'm officially Cerrillo Press, my retired colleagues that I join for lunch once a week sometimes ask how the books are doing as a genuine question, and my writing isn't a topic for jokes.

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    1. Carol, great advice! Thank you, Blessings, E

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  8. Edie, I think this list is great.

    When I tell someone I'm a writer, the first thing out of the person's mouth is, "Published?" My silent response is, "No, I just write on bathroom walls."

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    1. Carole, humor is a great way to deflect someone's ridiculous observations! Thanks for sharing, Blessings, E

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  9. Edie, I laughed all the way through this list! I haven't been published long but it's been long enough to have heard most of these! Because I'm from a small community (where I've taught for 24 years and know just about everyone), my favorite is when people think I'm rich because my book is on Amazon. Here are three more questions I've been asked: 1) Is your book any good? (Love this one...); 2) Are you going on a book tour? (Yes, because people all across America who don't know--or care--that I exist are waiting to meet me; and 3) How many books have you sold? (Now, that's just humiliating...)

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    1. Karen, those are great additions! Thanks for stopping by, Blessings, E

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  10. Thanks, Edie! You made my Halloween!

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  11. Edie, absolutely love this. The truth and humor made me smile and roll my eyes and shake my head. And think, Ha ha. ;-) When I announced to those closest to me that the Lord called me to write, a family member said, "No one reads anymore." Guess I'm really wasting my time.

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    1. Karen, you and I both know you're not, but sometimes you have to wonder!!! Thanks for dropping by, Blessings, E

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  12. #'s 12 & 17 literally LOL'd!!! love this whole list!!

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    1. Robin, glad you enjoyed this! Blessings, E

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  13. Love, love, love this! I am printing it out and hanging it by my desk so I can look at it when I need break and a good laugh! Cannot wait to meet you in person at the OCWC! Your posts have encouraged me so much!

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    1. Carla, I'm looking forward to meeting you too! blessings, E

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  14. Where should I start? People around me have a rash of such comments...it must be contagious! How about this...upon hearing about speculative/fiction work-in-process, this casual comment was the response "I don't understand why authors can't just write 'wholesome' stories"...guess not a fan of fantasy. I've lost count of the "I'm too busy to read" and "I only read non-fiction" and the already mentioned "Fiction is a waste of time". Then there's all the references to "you don't work"...said by people who should know better. Really. I give them concessions because I'm surrounded by "practical" people who don't lean toward creative--and certainly wouldn't make a career of it. But lastly, from coffee shop owner who saw me regularly and knows I write--why else would I spend hours writing in the shop?...and I quote, "don't you have a 'real' job?"

    I think we should all just start a new method of responding--the diversion trick--answer a question with a question: "Would you buy my books? All of them. Right now."

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  15. This is priceless. Thanks for sharing again bc I might not have seen it otherwise and it made my night!!

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  16. Haha, Edie! Great to meet you through a linkup. Enjoying your site. This list is gold. I work as a freelance copy and content writer as well as maintaining the blog/faith projects. So much of this rings true.

    I have two scaries to add:

    "You forgot about this perspective..." (Oh, sorry, did 'comprehensive' sneak into the title without my knowing it again?)

    And...

    "" (Were you talking to me?)

    Thanks for the laugh this morning!!

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