Don’t Piss off a Writer

 

The other day, I was out with normal people (i.e., non-writers) from work, one of whom had no idea I am writing a novel. I have difficulty talking about my writing journey with people who I don’t know that well.

I used to think my reluctance was irrational. Now I see it as totally justifiable.

When one of the normal people learned that I write (thanks to a well-meaning friend who clearly doesn’t understand my irrational justifiable terror), she was all over me with questions.

What do you write?

Why?

What does your family think?

And the horrible, terrible, no good very bad (thank you Judith Viorst) question:

What books have you published?

Stomach to water? Check. Heart palpitations? Check. Shaky hands? Double check.

I told her I am still working on that minor detail. My well-meaning friend informed Ms. Nosypants that I have a short story published.

“Oh, like in The New Yorker?”

Okay, now that’s just over the top. Is this chick serious?

She smiled in a sweet way that only her mother could love and said, “So, you aren’t, like, a real writer. It’s, like, a hobby or something. Right?”

That’s it!

Where’s my soapbox? I have something to say.

 

Writers write. Writing is what makes a writer, bottom line. It doesn’t matter if you’re writing a news article, a short story, a blog post, the next great Harry Potter, or a letter to Santa. It doesn’t matter if you’re published or not. If you care about the quality of your words, sentences, message, intention — then you are a real writer, dammit.

The writing process is so intricate and convoluted and magical, normal people can’t possibly understand what goes into it, or for that matter, what comes out of it.

 

Writers make up what could be termed a secret society, a league of story brewers who have a hard time discerning the difference between fantasy and reality.

Writers are a little on the insane side, but we make up for it in entertainment. We talk about our people and our worlds with sincerity and care, yet with a need to constantly put them through hell. We kill off characters as quickly as we bring them to life — and we tend to be quite creative in our methods. We’re excellent at researching normal people for our projects. Normal people make damn cool writing experiments.

Whether a writer does this shit for a living or for a hobby isn’t what normal people ought to be concerned about.

Normal people ought to wonder how closely a writer is watching them and if notes are involved.

Don't piss off a writer

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13 thoughts on “Don’t Piss off a Writer

  1. Pingback: My Rabbit-hole: Self-publishing | 4am Writer

  2. I saw this on FB, Kate and I’m not sure why it didn’t come to my email address. I think WP is playing around with my follows again. I’ll unfollow and refollow to see if this helps 😦

    People like this woman are great fodder for characters we want our readers to despise in our stories. I’ve met my fair share of them as well and unfortunately some of them are family. This is probably why the families in my books are so dysfunctional 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Dianne. There was nothing wrong with your follows. This was an old post (2011) that I messed around with and when I updated it, WP publicized it on FB for some reason.

      I was editing it because I saw this woman a couple of days ago, and I was reminded of my first encounter with her (which is what this post is about).

      I’ll never understand why people assume writing is not work unless we have major books out. I have a family member who has made some ugly comments, and a couple of family members who have suggested I “find a new path.” The lack of family support really sucks. Thank God for blogging!

      Thanks for reading and commenting! Merry Christmas!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I didn’t realize this was an old post, Kate. At least, WP is labeling it as from 2011. Regardless, my comment remains the same:
    Non-writers do not “get” story-builders, and they never will. It’s not either party’s fault in any way; we’re both just wired differently, like mathematicians are wired differently from musicians. Yet, no one ever thinks to patronize a mathematician or a musician when they’re at a social gathering, just because they haven’t won the Nobel Prize or played Madison Square Garden. For some reason, writers are fair game for this condescension, especially if we haven’t published [a best-seller]. Most non-creatives don’t or simply can’t appreciate all of the crossed-out ideas, shifted words, and scribbled notes – all of the work that goes into building a story, whether it’s as a novel, poem, comic, or song. It’s sad, but it’s less trouble in the long run to just let them go from our lives. Fortunately, this particular person does not seem to be that close to you, so it shouldn’t be too hard to shove her loose into the void. Unfortunately, creatives have tend to have long memories, so this interaction will probably stay with you. But your idea to keep this person in mind as inspiration is a good one, and hopefully helps you shake this moment free from any self-doubts. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Mayumi — this was an old post, but funny thing, I saw this woman out and about the other day. She didn’t recognize me, so I was able to slip past her with no problem. I remembered I’d posted about her a while back, so I was re-reading this post and I changed the title. When I updated this post, WP publicized it on FB for some reason. That’s never happened before. No matter, this was a post I’d written when I first started out blogging, and no one ever read it. It’s kind of neat to see it come back to life. 🙂

      Anywho — she isn’t the first person who’s made a dig about my slow progress, but she is the rudest! I have learned a little bit more about her and what she’s all about. She’s a dream-killer because she’s unhappy in her own life. I think that’s the way it goes in general. I’m over it, but I am saddened that some people can so easily step on the feelings of others, or what my mother always liked to say, “take away someone’s poker chips.”

      Thanks for taking the time and comment to read! Merry Christmas!

      Liked by 1 person

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