It takes a lot of guts to actually introduce yourself as a “writer”. The word itself seems to precipitate an immediate game of twenty questions.
What do you write? Did you write a book?
Where can I read your stuff? Is it in the local library?
When did you start? Do you write fiction?
Would I recognize any of the titles?
Do you know Oprah Winfrey? She reads a lot, you know?
Oh my! The barrage used to intimidate me and make me stumble all over myself but not anymore.
I remember the first time I told a stranger that I’d written a novel and they asked me what it was about.
Now, that’s a very valid and legitimate question (and one that should be expected) but I lost myself in the answer. Words of explanation, plot twists, and descriptions of minor characters started spilling out like that of long stringy drool from a baby’s mouth–I simply couldn’t be stopped.
Does this sound at all familiar?
Well, there’s this girl and she well you know, likes a guy but her older sister is leaving town to go to college and her mom is crying all the time…then in chapter seventeen, the main character falls in love with ….oh wait… I forgot to mention that her best friend is sleeping with her dad’s uncles cousin who lives in England in this tiny apartment with his dog Fluffy and….blah blah blah…
Eyes are glazed over and you curse under your breath because you’ve done it again. Dang, it.
Identifying as a writer means being prepared for the questions. People are curious and want to know more. I believe the fascination stems from a place of respect and reverence. Writing is an art form and let’s face it not everyone can do it.
Prepare an answer for those curious about your writing. Make a list of the things you’ve written. Poems, articles, essays, short stories, or full-blown novels—whatever—you don’t need to explain details to anyone.
You may say:
“Yes, I’ve completed my first book and it’s with my agent who is shopping publishers to find it a home” (that’s true for me right now), or you may say “I’m going to self-publish it soon.”
I’m a freelance writer. I have a blog and do articles. Here’s my card”—which of course you carry all the time—”check out my website”.
Perhaps, you need to work on your elevator pitch. This is a four or five line condensed explanation of what your book is about (If you’re headed to a conference this is important to practice—you never know when you’ll be stuck in an elevator with an agent or editor). It’s meant to introduce your work and pique the interest of the listener.
Here’s my elevator pitch:
My book, TWO FACES, is a young-adult contemporary issues novel with a thriller component. TWO FACES follows Lynxa a naive 18-year-old high school student who’s ecstatic to get the boyfriend she’s always wanted only to have her life spiral out of control as a result. She has a secret that privately haunts her and may ultimately kill her. Isolated and distracted she doesn’t even realize she’s being stalked by a dangerous felon who’s chosen her as his own. TWO FACES is a fast-paced rollercoaster ride through passion, dark secrets, and the art of deception.
So just a bit of prep and you’re off to the races.
Hi, my name is Faye. I’m a writer…
If I can do it—you can too.
Let me know how it goes.
7 thoughts on “Writers Prepare to be Questioned.”
Hi Faye. I can so relate to your colum. I have the hardest time saying I’m a writer. When people ask me what I do, I will say, I like to write. That way I don’t have the feeling…who do I think I am, declaring myself…A Writer.
I was at a dinner lately and my daughter in law was interducing people at the table. She said, “this is my mother- in-law. She is a writer. That sounded good to me.
Hi Heather. Yes the feeling can be very intimidating for sure. I love that your daughter-in-law introduced you as a writer. That’s so nice. I *know* you’re a writer.
Great advice! As one who tends to “motor mouth” about these kinds of questions, I appreciate your wise guidance 🙂
Thanks for the kind words Norma. Yes, motor mouth would be a good way to describe it. lol.
Thank you for the info. It was so good to read this over again…I am getting much better at saying that I am a writer, and some days even a published author…
It takes time to absorb it. So proud of you. xo