8 Things Not To Say/Ask: Inside the Writer’s Head.

I love writing.

Every writer does. It gives me an outlet and a chance to express my emotions in the form of creations sprung from my own imagination – it’s more than just a hobby, it’s a passion. 

What I dread is the Q and A session after someone else figures out that I write. It usually starts out like this (And by ‘it’, I mean the nightmare).

Them: Oh my god, you write?! I had no idea! That is just so awesome, I mean, way too cool – *continues telling me how amazing it is*


By then, I know what I’m in for, and I prepare myself for biting down on my tongue and giving the acceptable cliché answers. Although there’s a whole different story running through my mind.

So here are the top 10 things I’m told as a writer, the answers I give, and the answers I actually want to give, termed as Acceptable Writer’s Answer.

I’m going to finally say it.

1. How are you so creative? (or) How do you write so well? 

This is the first question everyone – and I mean everyone – asks me. It is also the one with which I have a lot of trouble answering. It’s like they want a step-by-step guide to my writing process. I don’t know how I am creative! I write when I’m inspired. I can’t explain that, even when they expect me to. The moments just happen.

Acceptable Answer: I’m not sure. I just get inspired sometimes and add a little bit of imagination.

Acceptable Writer’s Answer: Oh. I don’t know. I ate paste as a child. Tasted quite good too. XD

2. Can you put me in your book?

This is the runner-up for most annoying question asked. I don’t create characters the way I want them to be – I just write down how they develop in my head. You can start off a character by basing it on someone, but in the end, they’ll have evolved into a whole new persona. Besides, do you know how much emotional and physical trauma a character undergoes? Are you actually insane, given that you want your character to experience that? 

Acceptable Answer: Sure! I have the perfect situation to introduce you into the story!

Acceptable Writer’s Answer: Sure! You sure you don’t mind if I kill your character off in a brutal murder?

3. You’re still working on that book? But it’s been forever!

Here we go again.

I’m not even going to acknowledge this with an explanation because it ought to be clear that writing a book is not easy. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows and buttercups, do you understand? It’s more like tears, and sleepless nights, and madness and innumerable cups of coffee. Or hot chocolate. So, if you think eight months is forever – you might want to rethink your concept of the space-time continuum.

Acceptable Answer: Yes, unfortunately, it’s taking a bit of time.

Acceptable Writer’s Answer: You’re still asking me that question? But it’s been forever!

4. Why don’t you publish your novel? 

This one is just annoying. It depends on the author’s preferences. If I want to publish it, I will. If I’m not published yet, it’s because – guess what? – getting published isn’t easy. It’s a lengthy, difficult process. I want to be sure of myself before I put it out there for people to dice and poke through my story to critique it. Sometimes the stories I write aren’t for public eyes to scan.

Acceptable Answer: I’ll do it when I feel the time’s right.

Acceptable Writer’s Answer: Why don’t you turn around and walk away? We can pretend this never happened.

5. Writing’s interesting, but easy. I could write a great book too, I just never find the time! 

This is the winner for Most Offending Statement.

Just to clarify, as I have said before, writing is not easy. At least, writing a good book is not easy. I’m not saying that you can’t be a writer, I’m just saying that writing a few pieces of fan-fiction or spare snippets of stories doesn’t make you a writer. You’ll have to spend time on your work. That’s the pre-requisite for a true writer. Hence, I will not even dignify that statement with a response.

Acceptable Answer: That’s wonderful. I hope you find the time soon.

Acceptable Writer’s Answer: *turn around and walk away*

6. I’ve got a brilliant idea. Maybe you could write the book and we can share the profits!

Okay, so here’s the deal. That proposition is just plain unfair. I’m not going to slave away day and night if you aren’t going to make much contribution. Unless the sharing works out to be me getting all the profits.

You have no idea how many times this has happened to me.

Acceptable Answer: Perhaps. We’ll see if we can later, alright?

Acceptable Writer’s Answer: 

7. Oh, nice to meet you! I’m a writer too! Wrote a story once.

Now, if this line came from another writer, I would be ecstatic. The problem is, most often it’s from people who’ve dipped their pinky finger into the pool of writing. Probably one short story, or the first paragraph of their ‘magnum opus’, as they call it. Here’s who a writer is according to me: Someone who writes for the love of writing, and uses it as a way to express themselves or convey a message.

Acceptable Answer: Pleasure to meet you!

Acceptable Writer’s Answer: Oh, I’m a dancer too! I danced once when I was in sixth grade! (I’m not very good at dancing XD )

And the winner….

8. Oh, you write fiction novels too, I presume?

There is nothing so irritating as hearing the words ‘fiction’ and ‘novel’ together.

Believe it or not, this has actually happened to me. Once. I hope I shall never have to hear it again.

Definition of a novel: A fictitious prose narrative of book length, typically representing character and action with some degree of realism.

I would like to draw your attention to the word fictitious. Do you know what that means? It means that saying ‘fiction novel’ is like saying a six-year old girl is six years old.

Acceptable Answer: Well, yes, I do write novels, which are indeed works of fiction.

Acceptable Writer’s Answer: No, I’m working on your biography, actually. I’m sure it’ll be a best-seller, considering its elaborate details of your murder. *smiles sweetly*

It’s alright to ask writers things, or to carry a conversation with them. Just phrase them in such a way that it doesn’t offend or put down our work or opinion. Anything else goes. Even the above questions can be rephrased to a more acceptable form. 🙂

So, how about you? Have you ever faced any of the above situations? How did you react? What other questions have you been asked that got on your nerves?

Comment below! I’d love to hear from you! 😀

Catch you later!

Niru <3′


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