Earlier this week, a hashtag took my Twitter feed by storm. In case you missed it, that hashtag was #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter, and it quickly had everyone from budding writers to well-established authors bonding and venting about the ridiculous things people say to writers.
Because let’s face it: most people have no idea how to talk to writers. If I had a penny for every time somebody offered me an unsolicited idea for a novel or story, or asked how I made money, or whether I had a real job…well, I’d probably have like $2.50.
But as amusing and on-point the hashtag was, the whole thing also felt a little negative to me. Yes, a lot of people have no idea how to talk to writers, and yes, many of the things they say are awkward verging on offensive. But writing also isn’t the most well-understood of careers, partly because we’re all creatives with different processes, and partly because most of us are solitary little mouses scribbling away in our quiet mousey-houses.
It’s easy to think of the things we wish people wouldn’t say to us. But what do we wish they would? Here are my top ten things people should say to a writer*!
1. “Would you be able to proof-read this document for me? Oh, and what’s your hourly rate?”
2. “Sitting in front of a computer all day, talking to no one but the voices in your head, as you spin entire fictional universes out of the ether? Boy, that sounds really hard!”
3. “Do you want this spare bottle of wine I accidentally bought?”
4. “I can’t wait until your book releases so I can purchase it for its full sale price!”
5. “The wifi here is free.”
6. “I always wanted to write a book, but then I came to the realistic conclusion that I have spent zero time devoting myself to the craft of writing and probably have neither the tools nor the commitment to follow through on such a project.”
7. “As a working professional I’m sure you have a set schedule, so I won’t assume you can drop everything to have lunch with me in 2o minutes.”
8. “But if you are hungry I have some free food here I’d love to share with you.”
9. “I have many fascinating life experiences under my belt, but now that I think about it I doubt any of them would make particularly compelling works of fiction.”
10. “Thanks for being a writer. Without people like you, there wouldn’t be any books.”
How do you wish people would talk to you as a writer? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below!
*This is meant to be a humorous post. Please do not take offense with any of my silliness.