The other day, for the first time, when someone asked me what I do I said ‘I’m a writer.’ It was a wonderfully fulfilling moment. However, I soon realised the truth behind reactions I’ve been reading about for years. There are one or two things that are instantly said…
1. ‘Don’t put me in it.’
I can already tell that this will end up being something everyone says. To reassure them, I promise I never write about real people! Though I may take an aspect of someone’s personality, I’ve enough characters in my head as it is to want to take any from my life too.
2. ‘You should write about that.’
This seems to be said quite often after telling an anecdote. But I’m not short of material and don’t write down stories as I hear them. A spoken phrase may occasionally spark a train of thought that turns into a story, but this can’t be forced. As it is, I have one book being prepared for publication, one book in the final stages of editing, one book about to be published in monthly instalments, and ideas for five more written down. Plus a plethora of short stories, complete and otherwise. I don’t need any more ideas just yet, thanks.
3. ‘Might I be able to read it?’
Well, yes, that is sort of what publication means… Then I wonder if they’re actually hinting for a free copy. Then I feel bad for being so cynical and unkind when they’re probably just trying to express interest.
4. ‘What’s it about?’
Ummm… The most natural question, yet the hardest to answer. If you’re a writer, you’ll know this. Even if you manage to cobble some sort of response together, it sounds really lame. I’m thinking maybe I should just carry the blurb around and read it out.
5. ‘Where did you get the idea?’
This usually comes after the above question. Again, a perfectly natural thing to ask. But I don’t know the answer. I have no clue. But saying ‘It popped into my head one day when I was thinking about something else’ only confuses people and produces more questions.
So, to sum up, I love identifying myself as a writer. I love how interested and supportive everyone is being. But there’s always some rough to be taken with the smooth. Though really, it’s not anyone’s fault. It’s just there are some things only writers know about writers.