Wednesday, March 5, 2014

What Non-Writers Don't Get About Writers

Dear Writer Friends,

Have you talked about your writing--maybe just a little--with someone who doesn't write?

It's a bizarre, disconnected experience sometimes, isn't it?

There are the people who demand to know what you're writing about. Like, why? Just nod and wish me luck. Don't demand the story out of me. I don't demand the details of your inner thoughts, do I?

Or the ones who recount a story or an anecdote and then go, "Oh, you should write that!" Um, no.

Or the people who have a story idea--a pretty good one--and you tell them you look forward to reading it when they're done. And then they never write it.

Or the ones who think that you're really procrastinating by claiming to revise. No, actually, I really am revising because it's not ready. I'm not on deadline, so I can take as long as I freaking want to.

No, really, I did have to research that. Why? What do you mean why? Because I've never switched bodies with someone else/lived in a Tudor-era monastery/been a single mother/lived in the year 1800, maybe?

Or the people who think that writing fiction is something one does as a kid and that you should grow out of. I feel like I should get to pity those people; they clearly have no imagination left.

Or people who don't understand why anyone would want to write anything. Usually goes along with people who don't understand why people like to read outside of school.

Or people who used to write and tell you every five seconds that they "used to write." Used to is past tense, bud.

Or people who ask often if the piece you're working is "done yet." It'll be done when I say it's done, okay?

No, I haven't watched random TV show/movie/whatever. I have enough fictional characters floating around in my mind. I don't want to fill it up with other peoples' characters.

And in case you can't tell, I am in full-blown PMS mode, which has me simultaneously thinking that the writing I've done in the new draft is a) probably the best I've done for this particular story and b) simply awful. As F. Scott Fitzgerald said:

The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.
Clearly he was just talking about women everywhere. About to take my warped moody mind further into Mansfield Park,

Sunflower

Anything to add, writer friends?

8 comments:

  1. Yes!!!
    Like, editing is SO NOT procrastinating. Yes, people really do read for fun. And I most absolutely do not need anymore ideas, especially their crappy ideas.

    And how about my personal favorite: "Hurry up and finish so I can read it." It's like, you don't want to read my crap. They don't even know what it's about. Not to mention, if I actually did lose my mind and send them a copy, they would never read it. Like, why?

    Like you said, just wish me luck and be gone already. Lol! I love the people who do that by the way. Especially when they look impressed and beam at me. ^_^

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    1. "Hurry up and finish so I can read it." Lol! But it is true that if you send them a copy, they'll never read it anyway.

      I don't mind a "How's the writing going?" And I like some interest from my friends. But generally, I don't want an interrogation. If you want to know what the book's about, read my blog.

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  2. My husband doesn't really get the whole writing thing, so I actually don't bring it up all that often. At least he's a reader, and he usually leaves me alone to write when I need it! (He likes history and historical fiction. I write sci-fi/fantasy/action/adventure romance. We have yet to meet in the middle.)

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    1. Well, at least he reads. I once had a friend say, "I don't like to read books I haven't read before." Huh?

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  3. I also cringe whenever someone says, "Oh, you should write a book about that." As if I should drop what I'm currently writing at this very moment to take their advice on what I should be doing with my writing ambitions. Really? lol

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    1. Even when it's said jokingly, it kind of bothers me. "Why don't you write it?"

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  4. Yes, to all of them! Shortly before my novel came out, a high school friend sent me several FB messages that she'd started writing and she sent me the starting paragraph of her story. Fortunately, she didn't ask me to give a reaction. It was just a bad summary, not really narrative at all. It was obvious to me that she was just feeling competitive.

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    1. Lol! That's the other thing, too, isn't it? People think they can write something novel-level. It's just stringing some words together, right? ;-)

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Thank you so much for your comments and thoughts. Check back soon. I reply to all comments. Happy reading!