My Twisted Writer Brain…

Writers: Do You Know How to Answer the Dreaded Question?

Picture this…

You’re at a family dinner or the hairdresser, the grocery store, a writers’ festival, at school…. Oh my, it really doesn’t matter where you are because the first thing people ask when they meet you is:

“What do you do?”

You take that brave step forward and with all the confidence you can muster, you answer.

“I’m a writer.”

(Yes!! Yay you. Own it!!) 🤗

I can see the swell in your chest and detect the pride in your unwavering voice, but then… the damn dreaded question…

“Oh,” they say. “What do you write? Where can I see your work?”

A spiral in your head begins as you want to explain that writing, and being a writer, doesn’t work that way. It takes years of rejection, editing, and digging deep for the muse to get to that point. Oh, and let’s not forget the imposter syndrome.

These non-writers simply don’t understand the reality. 😢

Reality? Well, heck yeah, I’m a writer, but that doesn’t mean I have an actual book!

Oh man, if people could just get that fact into their heads, the world would be a better place. 🤦🏻‍♀️

Like omg. You had the guts to identify as a writer and now you have to prove it too?! 🫣

Hey, if someone identifies as a lawyer I don’t ask them to recite the Criminal Code. Why should you have to prove your creative skills with tangible assets?

Being asked to explain your writing or creative endeavors, is like plucking out your eyelashes one at a time as you squirm and search through your mental vault of stories, characters, settings and clever creations.

Shit. Are you really a writer if you don’t have 47 books on Amazon? Seriously, that doubt creeps in fast, furious, and feasts upon your very fragile writer soul.

You need a plan. Here’s how you’re going to answer next time to those dreaded invasive questions…

You’re going to say…

  • “I write characters that inspire/haunt/make me laugh and they’re the essence of my work.” Allow yourself to then launch into the characters and what excites you about your work.
  • “I create everyday and the stories need time to morph and simmer.”
  • “For me, it’s about the process…”

There is no need to answer the specific question. Own the writing. Own your place as a creative… Own your right to be a writer.

When people ask about published works, they’re not being sarcastic, nosey, or nasty… it’s just normal curiosity. lol…Forgive them, they know not what they do –or what triggers they’re setting off. 😂

We, as writers, need to train non-writers how to ask better questions about our work. What they should be asking (and this includes all of us because we’re all guilty too) is this:

“Oh, you’re a writer. How exciting. Do you have a character that really excites you?”

or

“Writing is such a journey, isn’t it? What direction are going with it?”

or

“I admire someone who writes. Is the story coming together for you the way you want?”

Ask anything about the process, the craft, or the journey, but not the physical product. Believe me, if a writer has a book for sale–they WILL tell you without having to be prompted. 😎💯

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8 thoughts on “Writers: Do You Know How to Answer the Dreaded Question?”

  1. Hi, Faye. I only recently got the nerve to announce myself as a writer. And yes, I get those same questions. The number one question is…are you published. I come back with, yes, my books are self-published and follow up with saying where they can buy one if they are interested. People are curious about writers and get more questions about their craft than other careers. That’s a compliment. Thanks for your input on this subject. Very good.

  2. When asked about writing, I bring up my checkered past. I say, “I’m almost ready to self-publish my first three books, but in the past, I’ve been paid for @600+ magazine & newspaper articles, plus two years as a news reporter.” I love their looks of amazement when they hear someone actually made money from writing. If you write, you’re a writer. “So, lawyer person, how many cases have you won?”

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