We’ve all had it happen. You’re at a cocktail party, or a Superbowl party, or a kid’s birthday party – and word gets out that you’re a writer. Then it begins…the inquisition. It’s funny – pro or con, serious or humorous, everyone has questions or opinions about our career. I was an accountant. Trust me. Accountants don’t get the questions we do.
On the Not-so-good Side:
I write romance. This seems to elicit lots of body language: waggling eyebrows, raised noses, and shaky smiles. I’ve been asked/told:
- Do I write ‘nasty’ stuff? 50 Shades is often cited.
- How much of my sex scenes is autobiographical? (then they look over at my husband)
- If I feel the need for a plot.
- ‘Oh, I don’t read that drivel.’
- That I jot a few ideas a day, but mostly stare out of the window.
- Maybe I have a drinking problem.
- It’s almost a cliche, but I’ve had several people seriously tell me they had a great book idea. I’ll write it, and we’d share 50/50 in the millions in profit. These people know where I live, and that I obviously don’t have millions, even keeping ALL the profits. But, then again, I don’t have their great idea, so…
- Why do they still think we make a ton of money at this? Seriously. I don’t get it.
- No, my books haven’t been made into a movie.
- Not a Lifetime show, either.
- No, Oprah hasn't featured one of mine.
- I haven’t met Stephen King, but when I do, I’ll tell him you’re a fan.
- How would I know if you've heard of my books?
- Oh, I don’t read. *said with an elitist sniff* Exactly how am I to answer without being insulting? I haven’t figured out a graceful reply – especially while biting my tongue.
On the Good Side:
There are many people who seem fascinated by what we do, and want to understand more. Some even are in awe. Almost all want to know:
- How/when I started
- Where I get my ideas
- The process of how a book is made, how long it takes, etc. They seem startled by the answer.
- If I have an agent, and how to go about getting one. They seem startled by the answer.
- How long it takes to write a book.
- Where DO I get my ideas?
- When I meet romance readers, and they hear what I write, their faces light up and they get all chatty - I love that.
- If they're readers, all I have to do is ask what genre they read, and we're off and running on a great conversation.
Almost all have an idea for a book, or want to write one (except those who want me to write it). I’m encouraging, always, because you never know who will actually sit down and do it. I doubt that when I began, anyone would give odds on my finishing – least of all, me.
I love it when I run into readers. I’ve had some great conversations with book lovers. There’s an instant connection; we get each other. I'm one of those people who, when I see someone reading on a plane, in a waiting room, wherever, I'll ask what they're reading. These conversations have developed into friendships. Sigh. I <3 readers.
Good or bad, if you’re a writer, you’d better get used to the fact that others have strong opinions about your job. I’m fine with all of it – except people who treat me like a rock star when they hear I’m an author. I think that probably says more about me than them, but that, as they say, is another meeting….
What crazy things have people said to you when they discover you’re a writer?
Share the good - and bad!
p.s. Laura just broke her leg in two spots while vacationing in Oregon, so we definitely want to fill the comments with "sh*t that non-writers say" to make her laugh. We're saying prayers for a quick and pain-free recovery. Get well, Laura!
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