The Belittling Of Writers

careful-or-you-ll-end-up-in-my-novel

STOP!

If you’re a writer you have heard the following statements:

“I always wanted to write a book, except…”

“You have so many good ideas – you should write a book!”

“You always have such great stories – you should write a book!”

“Can I be a character in one of your books?”

 

If you’re a writer you have seen the following phrases somewhere:

“Careful not to make me angry, I’ll put you in my next book! (Or some variation)

Okay, I can only think of one phrase…

All of these insult my passion and profession as a writer to the core of my being. Allow me to explain myself…

I’m all for having fun, making jokes about pretty much everything because who doesn’t want life to be fun? And maybe if these phrases and pieces of conversation were done so in moderation, it wouldn’t be bad because hearing one of these once in a while isn’t a big deal; hell, I wouldn’t even mind it at all. However, the volume of these phrases is out of control. Here’s why these statements are at heart – insulting the profession of writing and making a mockery of what we do.

 

  1. “I’ve always wanted to write a book, except I never had the time.” Let’s dissect this. This statement is fine if someone is actually interested and has a desire to write. However, that is never the case. It’s because they see your book and think how cool it would be to have a book of their own. So they put themselves on the same level as you by saying, “Yeah well, I always wanted to write a book, my friends tell me I should.”
  2. Be careful or you’ll end up in my novel. However innocent and joking as this statement is, a writer isn’t going to compromise his or her own’s book just to put someone they know in the story. It just belittles the act of writing a book. It’s difficult.

I need only ask one question: Do you write? The answer of that question will determine if you’re a writer or not.

Okay, so I’m not going to dissect each one, it would be redundant and boring. But the core belief of all these statements is consistently the belittling of writing. Just because someone thinks it would be cool to be a writer, doesn’t mean they have the stones to do it. And please hear me out, I don’t mean to put myself or fellow writers on some stage and say “YOU CAN’T BE US. WE’RE AWESOME.” That’s not at all what I mean.

For me, writing isn’t a fun, carefree thing I do because it’s my hobby. I already have an post on my site titled “Writing Is Not My Hobby.” It’s not my hobby. It’s my dream, my profession, my passion. It is literally the most important thing to me beyond family and friends. It’s everything to me. So when someone acts like my small and seldom accomplishments could be achieved by anyone who THINKS they could just pick up a pen and write an eighty thousand word book, it backhandedly slaps any writer in the face.

Being a writer is a hard life, and it only gets harder with the evolving…or devolving industry – depending on how you look at it.

Do you have an interest in writing? That’s great! Truly. Talk to a writer about it, they’d love to talk your ear off about everything and I mean everything. The majority of writers and authors are like most musicians – the nicest and most sincere people you will meet. They love talking about their passion. I would love to talk to anyone who wants to get into writing. But these nonchalant statements of how easy it would be to write a book are lazy and angering.

Maybe I’m being too sensitive, if so, just tell me. Zac, stop being a whiny (insert expletive). Either way – I don’t have many things that bother me. But this one takes the cake.

Thanks for reading my tirade.

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