You know, sometimes I love HuffPo. They take a topic and sometimes hit the nail on the head.
And you know what, it’s the fastest way to cheese a writer off. I heard most of them. And honestly, I’m surprised that we writers aren’t shooting back with comebacks! I mean, come on. We the creatives can get creative with them too, can we not?
(In case you haven’t guessed yet, this post is mostly fun/sarcasm. And yes, I use some of those comebacks, because people really don’t think before they ask a writer a question…)
Have you been published?
Well of course I have! Else would I offer you this thing called….a book?
What do you write? [pause for answer] Oh.
Well, what do you like? [pause for answer] Oh.
Do you have, like, a real job?
Writing. Why do you think it’s not real?
I don’t read much.
So going online doesn’t count? Because seriously, you do read what’s on the screen, you realize that, right?
Do you know Stephen King? What’s he like?
I’d love to find out!
You should write a book about my life, it’s a bestseller for sure.
Sigmund Freud would agree! You certainly have a healthy ego.
I’m gonna write someday, when I have free time.
Then you never will.
[No sarcasm here. It’s the truth. You either make the time, or you never will]
My sister likes to read. Have you written anything she would know?
Well, she’ll know what I’ve written when she reads it. If, on the other hand, you’re asking me if I can give her something to read, sure!
You write novels? I only read stuff that’s real.
Are those things on my bookshelf zombies?
I read your book. It was… interesting.
It is indeed, the Amazon reviews are favorable.
My mother loves your books.
That’s fantastic! Now what about you?
I’ve got a great story for you!
I’m not a literary agent.
I thought books were dead.
Have you read any lately?
You should write a screenplay! That’s where all the money is.
How nice of you to worry! Now why aren’t you writing one?
Snappy comebacks aside, few things irritate me as much as the idea that 1. books are “dead” and 2. there’s such a thing as a “real book”. If books are dead, then why has that particular medium been alive for several centuries? Come the hell on. Books aren’t “dead”. After all, there’s new authors writing them on a fairly constant basis, and the Hollywood movie factory needs to get its ideas from somewhere.
Far as 2, I’ve written about it at length here. Long post short: there’s no such thing as a “real book”. All books are real by virtue of being written. If you like nonfiction, you say nonfiction. Don’t denigrate a piece of writing just because it’s not something you read. You wouldn’t like it very much if someone devalued something that you’ve poured a lot of effort into, so why do you suppose you can do that to an author? You just don’t do that.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – and again, until it sinks in – that writing is a job. It’s a very difficult, sometimes thankless, and rarely financially lucrative job. If you’re not writing, you’re thinking about what to write. If you’re writing, you’re always thinking about what to write next. If you’re done writing, you always think about marketing and pushing it out to potential readers. It is a nonstop job, it requires a ton of mental resources, and considering the current financial conditions of being an author, it’s not lucrative. We writers do it because it is our calling, but we aren’t so starry-eyed to believe that we’re going to instantly become the next best-seller. That takes a hell of a lot more work than people think. Just because you see the finished product doesn’t mean it doesn’t take years to create it.