• Debra Stang

What Do People Say When You Come Out as a Writer?


Parties just aren't my thing. If you looked up the word "introvert" in a dictionary, you'd probably find it illustrated with my picture. I've discovered that going to parties and networking events is even harder when you're a writer.


When I was a social worker, I could get through the "So, what do you do?" exchange with a minimum of fuss. Most people aren't that interested in social workers.


Now, however, I have to tell people I'm a writer, and that elicits all kinds of comments–some of them rude, some funny, and some so far off base I have to bite my tongue to keep from laughing. Here are a few of my favorite examples.


1. HAVE YOU WRITTEN ANYTHING I'VE READ?


What I'd like to say: If you have to ask, probably not.


What I say instead: I do quite a bit of producing blogs and other web copy, and I ghostwrite a lot. You've probably come across my work somewhere without even realizing it.


2. HOW MUCH MONEY DO YOU MAKE?


What I'd like to say: None of your damn business.


What I say instead: Oh it varies so much from month to month I couldn't even give you a ballpark figure.


3. YOU'RE SO LUCKY. I'VE ALWAYS WANTED TO BE A WRITER.


What I'd like to say: Then sit your butt down in a chair and start writing.


What I say instead: Actually, luck doesn't have a whole lot to do with it. I've worked and practiced really hard to get where I am.


4. I'VE GOT A GREAT IDEA FORA STORY YOU COULD WRITE!


What I'd like to say: God, I can't wait to hear this one.


What I say instead: If you've got the idea, you should be the one to write the story. You're probably the only person who could really do it justice.


5. WILL YOU READ MY MANUSCRIPT AND TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK?


What I'd like to say: I'll read your manuscript for free if you take out my appendix for free.


What I say instead: Gosh, I'm sorry, I just don't have a single free moment in my schedule. Perhaps you could join an online critique group.


6. IT MUST BE GREAT TO STAY HOME AND DO NOTHING ALL DAY.


What I'd like to say: I know homicide is illegal for many good reasons, but right now I can't think of a single one.


What I say instead: I wouldn't say I do nothing. Working twelve and thirteen hour days isn't at all unusual for me.


7. I'D LOVE TO READ YOUR BOOKS.


What I'd like to say: Thank you! You can get both print and electronic versions through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or BookLocker.


What I do say: Thank you! You can get both print and electronic versions through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Booklocker.


Luckily, by the time we get through those seven questions, the social gathering is about to wind down and I gladly retreat into my cozy apartment, already dreading the next time I have to tell people I'm a writer. Or maybe next time I'll be smarter and say I'm a jewel thief or an international spy instead.      

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© Debra L. Stang 2020. All rights reserved.

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