10 Things You Should NEVER Say to a Writer

It's always safe to say, "Would you like some coffee?" That's a good one.

It’s always safe to say, “Would you like some coffee?” That’s a good one.

When I posted this question on my Facebook, I was blown away by the number of responses. I didn’t even know that many people read my Facebook posts! Anyway, writers are passionate about this topic, as I received over 40 replies. Here are the top ten pet peeves writers noted.
10. “Are you still writing romance?” Here, the implication is clearly that writing romance is clearly seen as a way to break into the publishing world, with the understanding that you need to be willing to REALLY write something worthwhile now. Come on.
9. “Where do you get your ideas” or the equally compelling “What is there left to write about?” It’s unintentionally (or perhaps intentionally) condescending.
8. “I didn’t finish reading it.” When referring to your personal work, it’s just awkward when somebody admits that they didn’t read the whole thing. Writers are notorious for obsessing about their work and a million other things, and the last thing we want to think about is why you didn’t finish our book. Was it boring? Did you feel like committing suicide after the first chapter? The potential for neurosis is limitless.
7. “I wish I had time to write.” Oh, right. Me too! The implication being that they are busier doing useful, charitable deeds, namely solving world hunger or ending cruelty to animals, or otherwise they would totally write! But right now there are just not that many hours in the day.
6. What else do you do (for your real job)? No, really. Wait, are you on welfare? Isn’t it kind of irresponsible to rely on writing to feed your family/pay your bills? Otherwise, you must be living in Dickens-like conditions. Or, the exact opposite of this question, which is…
5. If you’re a writer, why don’t you just write? Quit your job! J.K. Rowling was fired from her job when she wrote Harry Potter. It would motivate you to finish, you see.
4. I hope you’re not writing one of those “smutty” books. (Even though their Kindle is full of them).
3. How is your book selling? Are you ready to quit your job yet? Please, just…don’t. There’s never a great answer to this one. Why is it ok to ask what writers make? We don’t ask this question of ANYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD BECAUSE IT’S RUDE. End of story.
2. Is the character ________ based on Grandpa John? Yes, because I have no imagination whatsoever.
1.When is your next book coming out? This is the worst. Who says there will even be another one? Sometimes we just don’t know.

So if you have a writer friend, be kind. Avoid the top 10 questions that drive us crazy.

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