I once had to Google how much force was required to crush a human skull for a book I wrote. I am 100% on some kind of watch list now.
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I love being a writer. I’ve known that this is what I wanted to do for a career since I was six years old (yes, I’m one of those freaks) and it’s part of who I am as a human.
I hate telling other people I’m a writer. This is somewhat problematic because I want to promote my work, but I can’t do that unless I tell people what I do. It isn’t that I’m not proud of what I do because I very much am. The problem lies more in some of the response I get from other people when they hear I’m a writer.
- “You should write a book about me! My life is soooo crazy!” No. Thank you.
- “Me, too! I once wrote a poem ten years ago, so we’re the same.” I encourage everyone to write if they want to–your’e not a writer unless you write! My issue with this comment lies more in how it tends to be a segue into my career being viewed as a hobby. I’ve been working as a freelance writer for years and I’ve published over a dozen books, both under my own name(s) and as a ghostwriter. This type of comment is also usually followed by, “But, like, what’s your real job?”
- “OMG! I have a great idea for a book. You could write it for me!” No. Unless you’re going to hire me to write a book for you, I can’t devote my time to it. This type of comment generally comes from someone who doesn’t want to pay you, but wants to put their name on the book and take all the credit. I’ll ghostwrite whatever you want, but my time ain’t free (or cheap).
- “I’m a writer, too, but I’m not like, a sellout.” Often said by bitter, negative people who only want to drain your energy. Just because they have a half-finished novel on their hard drive doesn’t mean they need to go around bashing people who actually finish their projects. I heard this a lot from guys in my grad school program, most of whom stopped speaking to me once I got my first book published halfway through the program. I didn’t miss them.
- “Do you wish you’d written Harry Potter?” Nope. Because although I’d admittedly love to write something that successful someday, if I’d written that series then I wouldn’t have gotten to enjoy the series as a reader. I want to be the best version of myself that I can be; not a secondhand version of J.K. Rowling or anyone else.
Usually when I hear comments like this, I smile and nod or pretend I have to go to the bathroom and then never come back.
You can’t control how people react to your profession, but you can laugh about it on the internet.
Or kill them off in your next book. Your choice.
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I swear, I’ll lie in bed and have a fabulously vivid scene in my head. I’ll figure out how everything is supposed to work and then come up with the most brilliant descriptors to paint an incredibly realistic picture for the reader. Then, when it comes time to actually write it down the next day, this happens:
Doesn’t quite have the gravitas I was looking for.
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