03 October 2012

Conversations of a Writer - The Beginning

As a writer, you've probably run into many situations where you wish people understood you and your passion a little more. It's just difficult to explain to people what you've learned for yourself in your journey toward becoming a writer.

For all the time I've spent in wonderment over how to respond to people who do not realize how insensitive they are by not understanding our passions, I've decided to post (on occasion), Conversations of a Writer.

Writer:  Well, I write short stories and some poetry. However, currently, I'm working on a police procedural novel.

Nancy Nuisance: Oh, really? Have you published anything I might have read?

Writer: I'm a writer, not a publisher.

Be reminded. Technology has changed the scenario. We will not have to experience this sort of thing much longer. Self-publishing options make this conversation very different.

Writer: I have published a police procedural novel and an anthology of ghost stories.

Nancy Nuisance: Really? How many copies have you sold?

It shouldn't be an embarrassment to call yourself a writer if you write. The fact that you write makes you a writer. Don't let these people keep you down. A successful writer is a happy writer! Don't ever forget this in your writing journey.


Do you recall any conversations which made you feel like you were embarrassed to say you are a writer? Please share your experience!

21 comments:

  1. Yes, so many! Before I got my first book deal, I felt that way all the time. I hated it. Now I'm waiting for the "How many books have you sold?" question. Grrr.

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    1. Omg, you have to keep me posted on how that goes, Kelly! There's always another step in our growth and how we should deal with it.

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  2. Every day for 25 years....Great post Diane! I worked in advertising and watched the boasting writers unknowingly gloat....I made my choices and hid myself in shame.

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    1. I have 10 year old poetry I still hide! :)

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  3. I frequently have this problem. I get that reaction all the time when I tell people that I write science fiction. It seems a lot of people think all sci fi is silly and barely worth notice. Then, when I tried sending out a novel the first time and it was rejected, someone "kindly" suggested that I should try a different genre since the science fiction wasn't working for me. So many people don't understand just how much rejection a writer has to get through to establish themselves.

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    1. So, so true! If a writer loves romance, they should absolutely write romance. I can't imagine someone telling Edgar Allan Poe that he should write urban fantasy!

      Keep doing what you love best, L.G.

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    2. I LOVE sci fi!!! So, there! :-) Where would we be without greats like Ray Bradbury and D.H. Lawrence? Cthulu is coming after all those people who don't appreciate sci fi, and he will be arriving soon...

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  4. When people ask an unpublished author about writing, they want one of two things; affirmation or an anecdote. Always assume the latter. And always have a story prepared, even if it's an outrageous lie. Nobody wants to really hear about the process or the product, just funny, witty, amusing anecdotes.

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    1. My next answer to, "So, what are you writing about?":

      All the things God is telling me to write.

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    2. @Diane, maybe you can answer, "this conversation." ;D

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  5. The whole "How successful are you?" line of questions grind my gears. Writing, in my honest opinion, shouldn't be about head counts, it should be about doing something you love.

    When I published my book of poetry and short stories I added a 'selfless' incentive: ALL proceeds go to a scholarship fund for creative writers. Of course the first quarter of sales didn't do so amazingly well so I didn't raise loads of money. When someone asked me how much I'd raised, I told them. Response was a droll, "Oh." What does it matter how much I raised...any charity is charity, right?

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    1. Absolutely, randi! I think people don't realize how insensitive they sound, even if they are ignorant to the passion behind what we do.

      It was thoughtful of you to designate a charity for your proceeds.

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  6. I've experienced positive and negative responses from the "Oh, so you're a writer?" conversation. The positive happened somewhat recently. I was at a group interview and I mentioned that I'm an "aspiring writer." All of a sudden people started asking me questions about my writing, tons of questions, but they were interested in what I had to say. I even learned about some other authors, recommendations, etc, so it was an encouraging experience.

    But I usually don't tell people that I'm a writer, because I've had too many other experiences with people who look down their noses at me. Supposedly, I'm not a real author because I'm not published. Or I don't get paid to write. Even though I used to work as a freelance writer, I still had some people laugh when mentioned my "work." *sigh* Oh well. Haters gonna hate, right? Lol.

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    1. I hate when people do that, it's disrespectful. It's pretty snobbish for people to laugh at your work.

      Most of my friends and family know I write, but they hardly ask me about it anymore. However, when a stranger finds out about my writing passion, they almost always want to know more. Right now, I don't have a whole lot to say to them, but I just ask them to visit my blog. lol

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  7. I have to write some erotica for charity now, just so I can answer, 'So, what did you raise?'

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  8. I don't even mention that I'm a writer because I've had people say things like, "You're a humor writer - say something funny!" I don't think people are trying to be insensitive they just don't understand. If you're not a rocket scientist how are you going to talk to one and understand what they go through?
    P.S. I don't like the term "Debbie Downer!"

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    1. For you, I edited this post Deb! :)

      I hope I haven't started any wars with the Nancy(s) out there.

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  9. I have to admit that I have asked some of the very questions that non-writers do. Just out of ignorance. I am an aspiring writer and when I attended my first writers conference this year, I threw out a few doosies. I was just nervous and didn't know how to start the conversation. I don't tell many people I write anymore, simply because of one incident. I had a friend ask me what I was writing about. When I told her the story line, her reply was a one word sentence. "Oh." She then proceeded to talk to the person on the other side of her. It was very awkward after that. I'm still learning the etiquette of writers talk. LOL.

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    1. Now I'm curious what it is you told your friend you were writing. :)

      Some people forget that fiction writing is part of our creative selves, so when you tell them you are writing about a serial killer who removes his victims' vital organs while they are still alive, well it might throw up a few red flags. lol

      It gets easier, trust me.

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