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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Ignorant Friends of Writers



Don’t you hate when people ask about your writing, but not really? A week ago, I go to this gathering with friends, enemies, and everyone in between. All night, I repeat the same annoying conversation with people who have short-term memory. Let me go back and set up the scenes for y’all. The accounts are real, but names have been omitted to protect the innocent…and the asinine.


Scene I: The Hater
“Hey, Jaime! I haven’t seen you in a while. What have you been up to?” girl friend asks—way too chipper for this party.

“Writing,” I answer.

“Oh, you’re still doing that.” She looks shocked and slightly annoyed, as if writing was something I should’ve outgrown by now. “That’s so great. I admire your tenacity.”

“Thanks.” I look for someone else to talk to.

“So what are you writing these days?”

“Teen paranormal fiction.”

“Oh. Okay. So is that like Twilight?” she asks.

“It’s the same genre, yeah.”

“Oh that’s great! You know I always wanted to write, but I haven’t had the time.” She gets a far-off look in her eyes. “I have this story idea I’ve been working on for years, but I can’t seem to get it down. You’re so lucky to be able to write all those stories. I wouldn’t know where to start.”

“One word at a time,” I quip.

“Yeah, but I can never finish.” She gives the sad face. “One day, I’ll sit down and type it out, but right now, I’ve got work and two kids to deal with.”

“A lot of writers work full-time and have kids. They write in their free time.”

She brushes away the issue with her hand. “I don’t have that luxury. But it’s good that you don’t have a husband and kids or anyone special in your life. You can do all your writing and not have to worry about people around you.”

I contemplate throwing my drink in her face, but chug it down instead.


Scene II: The Merger
“How are you, Jaime? You still doing that writing thing?” Guy friend asks.
“Yeah,” I reply.
“When are you gonna get published?”

“First book comes out in January.” I smile, mainly because I’m buzzed.

“Oh that’s great! I’m so happy. What’s your book about again?”

“Girl finds out her cute co-worker is a chick-magnet, the deadly kind. It’s a teen book that satirizes teen books, but still has its own story.”

“Oh! Right. Well, that’s good! You know, I dabble in some writing myself--poems and short stories and all that. What would I have to do to get published?”

“Research.” I’m still smiling.

“Okay, well maybe you and I can collaborate on a few things. You know, write a bestseller together?”

My smile drops. “Tempting, but my plate’s full with books two and three. Sorry.”



Scene III: The Networker
“Hey, Jaime I heard you’re getting published. Congrats!” another guy friend gives me a hug.
“Thanks!” I say.
“You know I’ve always wanted to write, but I always get distracted by stuff. It must be so lonely for you, girl. How do you do it? How do you keep from dropping an idea?”

“My OCD won’t let me,” I reply with a straight face.

He looks confused. “Right. So is your agent hot?”

“Kinda. Why?”

“Nothing. I just got this cool book idea and I was wondering if she might be interested, you know.”

“Is it finished?” I ask, wondering what that has to do with my agent’s looks.

“Well…sorta, I got some stuff written down in my notebook, but I gotta flush out my characters.”

I sigh. “You do realize you have to submit a letter and maybe some sample chapters—typed up, right?”

“Yeah, but I figured you could hook me up with your agent so I wouldn’t have to do all that. So you got her number or what?”

I take another drink. By this time, I’m tore up and ready to leave. And these are just the highlights—imagine repeating these same three convos SEVEN times during a party. I don’t know if any of you guys have experienced this, and if you have, rest easy in knowing that you’re not alone.

I’m not normally a rude person, but I have no time for people who want to write, but don’t. Writing is what you do and what others read about, no excuses, no exceptions. It’s not a hobby, it’s not a whim, but a passion that keeps you up at night and steals all concept of time. It’s a craft that takes a lot of work to perfect, and there is reward in simply completing a story. From outlines to query submissions, there is nothing ‘overnight’ about what writers do, and those who fail to stick it out were never meant to be writers anyway. It’s harsh, but there it is.

8 comments:

  1. I can picture your facial expressions. I'll be avoiding the parties for a while. Lol

    ReplyDelete
  2. LOL, this was hilarious! And this is exactly why I stay at home with my DVDs. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. All too true. And this is why very few people outside the internet know I write.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Ah, so true. I think anytime you're living a creative life, there will be people who are jealous and don't know how to respond. Everyone thinks they have a good book in them...

    Try being a dancer!

    Q. Are you an exotic dancer?
    A. Uh, no. I'm actually a serious artist.

    Q. That must be so much fun for you! Isn't that the funnest thing ever?
    A. Uh, sometimes. Usually it's a lot of work.

    I tend to just avoid parties.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I've already had to deal with the "Hater" and the "Merger". I guess when I do get an agent and book deal I will meet the "Networker"... *sigh*
    Great post by the way. :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. My favorite ones are when I run into someone I knew in high school and I have to recap ten years of my life on the spot and we have the same convo. Fun times!!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I don't really talk about writing with my in-person friends, and this is certainly a disincentive to start! Thanks for letting us laugh at what must have been a frustrating experience.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I don't seem to have this problem. Maybe it's because I don't talk about my writing with acquaintances and most of my close friends know better. I don't know what I'll do when I'm a published author. Maybe I'll build myself a bat cave and hide out there.

    ReplyDelete

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