Writing is a profession, just like real estate, just like marketing, just like accounting, but it seems to get treated differently by non-writers. Below are a few things every writer has heard at least once and wish everyone would stop saying.
If you're not a writer, read on to find out what you could be doing wrong. If you are a writer, share with your friends as a polite way to tell them: Please, dear God, please stop.
1. I've Always Thought About Writing A Book
Yes, and I've always thought about going back to college, training for years and learning an entire new skill set to do your job as well. Most writers, especially those who have written a book, have done it for years. They didn't wake up one day and decide to sit down and do it, much like you had to go through training and work for your profession as well.
2. What Is Your Book About?
This questions seems completely harmless, but if there's one way to make a writer feel like an idiot, ask them to summarize their book/short story/essay on the spot. It usually comes out sounding like "It's about a girl who has to do something and then she meets this guy." Doesn't sound very good does it?
3. You Should Write About...
Writers get inspiration in all sorts of places, from dreams, from songs, from things they witness in everyday life. I can count on one hand the number of times I've gotten an idea for a story based on what someone told me I should write about.
4. My Sister's Boyfriend Wrote A Novel
You can substitute the random relationship for just about anything. My co-worker, a guy I met at the grocery store, the person who sat next to me on the plane. There are novelists everywhere. I went to graduate program full of them. What's your point?
5. Can I Read It?
Oh, god, no. Just because it's written and finish does not mean it's ready to be read by someone. Writing is honestly the easiest part. After that there's reading, editing, rewriting, reading again, rewriting again. When we're ready to share it, we will.
6. Do You Want To Be A Teacher?
Teaching is a great profession that takes a lot of time and patience. Many writers end up teaching and that's their choice. It's not the default career for everyone who wants to write a book.
7. Is This Character You/Me/Your Mom/Etc.?
I've written three and a half novels and multiple short stories. There's probably a combined count of at least fifty different characters. Some of them have the same mannerisms/attributes/hair colors as people that I know. That doesn't mean that they are the exact same person. Don't read too much into it.
8. You Can Publish Your Book On Amazon, You Know
Just like teaching, lots of writers decide to self-publish through Amazon and other websites. It's a valid option and people can make good money off of it as well. That doesn't mean every single writer feels the need to get their novel published as quickly and easily as possible.
9. I Wish I Had Time To Read As Much As You Do
For people who love books, literature, writing as much as writers do, reading is not an option. It's a job requirement. You can't drive a car without filling starting the engine. You can't write a novel without reading.
10. You're Going To Be A Bestseller, I Know It!
It sounds like a great bit of encouragement and it helps to know your friends and family believe your skills. (Stay tuned for my post next Monday about how to support your writer friend.) As I said earlier though, people are writing novels all over the place. Only some of them can be bestsellers. That's a lot of pressure to put on someone!
Friends, are you guilty of any of these one-liners? Writers, what are you tried of hearing? Share with me below or via Twitter and Facebook!