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Conversation With A Writer

It’s hard enough to slog away at the craft of writing without having to explain yourself along the way. What have you written? Why haven’t I ever heard of you? So, you’re a real writer? If you’re a doctor, no one asks you if you’re a “real” doctor—why isn’t the same courtesy afforded to writers?

Or how about the people who imply that they, too, could easily be a published author if only they had a wee bit more free time. It’s a frustrating career to explain at any rate. And if you recognize a version of the following conversation, you have our sympathy.

Oooh, you’re a writer? Have I ever heard of you?

Er…

Got any of your books at Barnes and Noble? Like Stephen King?

No, not yet.

Oh, so it’s just a hobby then?

Grrrrrr.

I used to write too. In high school.

Yeah, I used to scrawl graffiti on the bathroom walls too, but that doesn’t make me a writer.

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Gosh, it’s so romantic to be a writer. Maybe someday I’ll write a book and get rich!

Yes, I’m sure you will. It’s virtually guaranteed.

Hey, you should send your stuff to a publisher!

Hey, I already thought of that, but thanks for the brilliant idea!

So, what do you write?

Oh, you know, those little warning labels on wart removal packages. Oh, and the instructions on jars of wrinkle cream.

Where do you get your ideas?

I bid for them on eBay. Sometimes there’s a two-for-one special at the dollar store.

Hey, I know what you should write about! My cousin has this friend, you know, this real interesting guy who…

Sorry. Must go. The smack-your-face-against-a-wall store is having a sale today, and I wouldn’t want to miss it.

Want help building your reputation? Writer’s Relief manages the submission process for creative writers of books, poems, stories, and essays.

5 Responses to Conversation With A Writer

  1. I read another article that made an interesting observation: People wouldn’t ordinarily ask someone who tells them they paint whether they’ve had one of their paintings in a gallery – so why should people ask a writer whether or not they’ve been published?

  2. As a kid, my dad, an engineer, used to take me to work, shuffle me past all of his half-finished works, and show me his ‘almost finished’ machine with ‘a few errors to work out’.

    As an adult I often hear him say ‘Yeah, Barbara calls herself a writer, but we’ve never read any of her stuff… She just sits there all day and writes in her notebooks.’ Maybe when I have an ‘almost finished’ product with ‘a few errors to work out’ I’ll show you something I’ve done, ‘Kay Dad?

    Not to say my parents are bad – they never encouraged me to stop. They just laughed at the thought I would ever finish. My husband is infinatly supportive, eagerly waiting for the day he gets to read the first readable draft of one of my novels.

  3. I don’t know if I should laugh at the article or at JM Fisher still being married! Priceless you guys, I love it! I want to be a writer, I want to share the internal passion, I would only ask a writer for a point in the right direction — not take them down that way. I know it’s hard and close to impossible.

    Husband thinks I’m an idiot and wasting my time. Um, husband doesn’t read books. He does read Yahoo! news stories so I suppose I should give him credit for that. It’s a one-way street for us aspiring "idiots" I’m afraid.

    You guys are the best!

  4. I had put my husband through medical school on my writing but he did not introduce me to anyone as a writer until after I published a small humor article in a magazine that he subscribed to. Somehow, because his friends could read it, I was validated as a real writer in his eyes. And yes, we are still married.

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