Top Ten Writing Things Not to Discuss with Anyone Who’s Not a Writer

This list has as inspiration personal experience in trying to discuss writing with non-writers. Hope you enjoy

a writer

Top Ten Writing Things Not to Discuss with Anyone Who’s Not a Writer

10 If you are a writer, do not discuss how hard it is to write. If you do, at best you get an eye roll. At worst, you be talking to someone who has to disarm bombs for a living and will laugh out loud in your face.

9 If you are a writer, do not discuss your characters as if they are real. If you do, at best you will find people avoiding you. At worst, you will be talking to someone who has an imaginary friend that they believe would be a perfect protagonist for your next book.

8 If you are a writer, do not discuss your latest plot breakthrough. If you do, at best you will be given laundry to do. At worst, the entire family will suddenly disappear knowing you can’t wait to tell them how you solved the plot hole.

7 If you are a writer, do not discuss your latest review. If you do, at best you will be talking to someone who could care less. At worst, you could be talking to a person who just finished your book and had not thought of the negative points brought up by the reviewer and has to leave quickly to downgrade their review on Amazon.

6 If you are a writer, do not discuss your book with friends. If you do., at best they will all pledge to read and review your book that you know they won’t. At worse, you will tell some spoilers and the person you are regaling with the tale now has no reason to buy and read the book.

5 If you are a writer, do not discuss how hard it is to market your book. If you do, at best the person you are talking to will not understand anything you are saying.  At worst they may ask, “who forced you to write the damn thing anyway?” A

4 If you are a writer, do not discuss your book with your spouse or partner. If you do, at best you will get a smile and a head nod. At worst, you might get some advice that you know you are not going to follow and someday you will have to pay the piper when it is clear you did not take the advice.

3 If you are a writer, do not discuss your royalty arrangements. If you do, at best you will confirm your writing is a hobby. At worst, you will confirm for others that you have completely lost your mind in pursuing a writing career.

2 If you are a writer, do not discuss word counts. If you do, at best the person who is listening to your minimum production will be polite enough not to walk away. At worst, you will be talking to someone who thinks one hundred of anything is a lot and will be blown away with your thousands they will expect you to buy dinner.

1 If you are a writer, do not discuss formats, downloads, Amazon, Createspace, cover art, fonts, or KDP. If you do, at best the person will be so impressed they won’t fall asleep immediately. (only temporary, however) At worst, your conversation will be interrupted by a phone call even if you didn’t hear the phone ring.

30 comments

  1. Been through a lot of those. Many times it’s caused by the other person asking the question, so they bring it on themselves. As far as #9 goes, I remember agreeing to use a person’s character in college. I showed them a short story where the character was the bad guy and they never bugged me again. Going ‘Oh! Protagonist? I thought you said antagonist. No. Your guy is definitely an expendable henchman type.’ does not help in the matter.

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    1. Great story Charles. I need to keep that one in mind for the next time. “Oh yes I took your character idea and here they are on top of the White House battling with the Secret Service.”

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      1. That actually sounds pretty cool. 🙂

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  2. All of these are great, John. Since I don’t have a book on the market, I’m happily avoiding some of the items on this list 😉 Six and four really resonate with me, though. I rarely talk about my writing, even my blog, with any of my friends (and never with my coworkers) precisely because I don’t want to hear people saying how much they want to read my draft or my blog, but, gee, they can never get around to it. And the spouse thing … lol … my husband always wants to offer me “suggestions” 😉

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    1. As I say, these are inspired by personal events. 🙂

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  3. Reblogged this on 1WriteWay and commented:
    Here’s a funny but all-too-true Top Ten list from John Howell that should resonate with every writer out there, published or not. Enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the re-blog Marie. Smooch!!!!

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  4. Talking to the bomb squad member really got me John.

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    1. I’m glad. Thanks for letting me know.

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  5. I can totally relate to this! As soon as I start talking about writing, my husband switches off and, on occasions, has even fallen asleep mid-conversation! 😮

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    1. I love the “huh what?”

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      1. Oh yes! I get a lot of “huh what’ – ah well, I suppose I switch off when my husband talks about football – it’s only fair.

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  6. As soon as I saw the title, I knew I was going to enjoy this, John. People who don’t write will never get number ten, so why waste your breathe. My coworkers probably think I live such a boring life. When they ask what I’m going to do over the weekend, my standard answer is “nothing.” When it’s really write.

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    1. Nothing is a great answer. I think I’m going to use that one.

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      1. Sometimes I’ll switch it up and say, “nothing major.”

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  7. 😀 😀 😀 Exactly true. Nobody you know, who isn’t a writer, ever sees writing as something serious. “So all you have to do is sit down and write. Big deal.”

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    1. I’ve heard that before.

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  8. meh…If you are a writer…it’s just best not to talk about it, huh?

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    1. With non writers? Yup. Just write.

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  9. I am writing my first novel and I loved this. My husband has looked at me a couple times like I am crazy when I talk about my characters. LOL. This was spot on John! ❤

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    1. Glad you liked it and Good Luck on the first

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      1. Thanks John. I am learning tons! 😀

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  10. Love it. That far away look they get in their eyes at the slightest mention of writing or books or my favourite, they remember a really important thing that they tell you right away when you are in mid sentence. I say, but I was talking. Oh, they say, I thought you were finished.

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    1. Love this. So typical

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  11. Very funny! 🙂

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    1. Thank you. 🙂

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  12. Yep. Agree with this. I have people who don’t know that I write, cozthat’s the safest way for all of us. Those who do, tens not to ask me…see first sentence.

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    1. Thanks Carol for the comment.

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