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The writing life: Top 5 things you should never say to a writer

May 27, 2017
5 things you should never say to a writer

The writing life: Top 5 things you should never say to a writer

A common question asked in every writer’s life about their writing life. Last week a friend asked me ‘what kind of job you would love to do?’

This for me was an easy answer but I was hesitant, few people know I write. I want to avoid answering the questions non-writers ask. Mostly they are stupid questions, so stupid and annoying that I’d be tempted to create a character based on them just for the satisfaction killing them off would bring. When I told my friend I would love to make money by writing books, then came the questions “what’s your book about?” “You are going to make a fortune” “so if your editor says yes, you will be able to publish it?”

If only it were that easy. I don’t think I’m alone here; we writers are asked a lot of questions and we’re not taken seriously. For most people, writing is not a real job and they assume that writing a book is so easy. The answer is writing a book is the hardest of crafts. It takes years to write, years to enhance your writing and let’s not forget the criticism. What’s my book about and how am going to summarise a 90k word thriller novel in just a few sentences? I need to get working on this but I want to stay in this cocoon of a comfort zone for a while longer. Meanwhile here are The writing life: Top 5 things you should never say to a writer

  1. “Oh, you wrote a book? So, your book is the next Harry Potter or Fifty Shades of Grey or Twilight?”

First one in The writing life: Top 5 things you should never tell a writer. Okay, you don’t know what my book is about why so you’re assuming it’s about BDSM, wizards or vampires? I don’t want to know. We’re in it for the passion we love to create stories. We’re artists in our own right and if you think you are going to write a book for the fame and fortune, you are going to be disappointed.

  1. Can you a write a book for me?”

No! I have my own ideas I want to write. No, I will not write a book based on your life story, here is a thought; why don’t sit your butt on the chair and write it yourself?

“Can you give me a free copy of your book?”

No, you cheap son of a bitch I won’t! Pardon my French. Do you work for free? You realize I have to eat, right?

  1. “Is your book any good?”

Another in The writing life: Top 5 things you should never say to a writer, This question is so stupid on so many levels. Writers doubt themselves and they might be thinking no it’s rubbish. Any writer with half a brain is going to say yes because they want you to buy the book.

  1. “Can I be in your book?”

Of Course, you can… (Can you hear my sarcasm?) These people come in two different breeds; some want their name in the book (but imagine if they have a name that’s not so great.) The second breed wants a whole character based on them “so my character, she has to be beautiful of course, you know a crossover between Jennifer Lopez and Selena Gomez. She has to be smart, successful, compassionate, caring, and wears designer brands.”

I think you have it covered you don’t need me.

  1. ‘I would write a book if I had the time.”

Last not least in. The writing life: Top 5 things you should never say to a writer

Not a question, but when I told people I write, I got this all the time.  I sit down and do nothing all day. Writing a book takes a lot of discipline and time. It took you an hour to compose that email and you‘re saying you could write a book if you had the time?

Topical writing life


Happy writing xxx

How to find genre your book fits in?

  1. Hahah I loved your writing style..
    I totally agree with you .. people do ask so many stupid questions.
    But all we can is- be patient and make them understand politely ?

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