Monday, February 28, 2011

Mastering Your Craft

by Edie Melson

When someone asks me what I do or where I work, I always hesitate to mention that I’m a writer. Not because I’m ashamed of it or think I’m not worthy to be called a writer, but because it often leads to some frustrating conversations. Let me see if any of you can relate to some of my experiences. 

  • “I've always wanted to be a writer. Can you help me?”
  • “I have a book I've written. Can you send it to a publisher for me?”
  • “I used to write in high school—maybe you could look at a few things and tell me what you think.”
  • “I've been through (fill in the blank) and want to write a book about it. Can you tell me how to get it published?” 
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing inherently wrong with these questions, the problem comes when I answer them. I’ve found that most people don’t really want to hear the truth – they want a shortcut to fame and fortune, not the truth. 
  • There’s no shortcut to becoming a professional writer. It takes time and commitment.
  • I don’t have an inside track into getting your book published.
  • If I take the time to look at your samples, I’ll tell you the truth and that may not be what you really want.
There are no shortcuts to becoming a master at your craft and writing is no different. Even exceptional talent needs time and experience to hone it into brilliance. I rejoice when I find those who are willing to put in the time and really learn about the craft of writing. Those individuals are a pleasure and I love taking time to help them. 

Now it's your turn to share. What funny situations have you encountered when you confessed you were a writer?

Don't forget to join the conversation!


  1. Yes, I was one of those a couple of years ago. It definitely is a "process." You've got to love it, right?

  2. Two or three times when I've told people I'm a freelance writer (and I hesitate also but haven't examined why yet), they've said, "Really? Have you been published?" I think that's a funny one.

    Guess we're just not credible until we're in print. Actually, the first few times I said,"I'm a writer," I felt like I was making it up since I wasn't sure how many articles you had to have published to be one. What a funny line of work all the way around!

  3. I'm new to bringing up my writing life in public, but have already gotten the "Oh, aren't you cute," with accompanying eye-roll, response.

  4. I'm late to this discussion, but I love the polar extreme responses that are out there. My favorites are the ones who think all you have to do is write a book and mail it off to get it published, the ones who have no idea how hard it really is. That's my favorite because that used to be me. :-)