Promoted from the Forums (Find out how to have a chance at a guest post here)
I don’t spread around that I want to be a novelist. It’s not that I’m shy or feel too inadequate to call myself a writer; it’s because of the crazy reactions I get from people.
The Q&A Session: Often people tell me they have a book and ask how to get it published. Talk about a broad question. Someone on an airplane asked me this when we were going to land in 30 minutes. I gave him a crash-course in query letters, suggested some books to read, and most likely scared him away from publishing completely.
The Bandwagon-Jumper: When I told people in college I wanted to be a novelist, they always, always, always said the same thing: “Oh, like Stephanie Meyer?” Even my professors said this. I always responded the same way: “No. Not like Stephanie Meyer.” I write mainstream and historical fiction; I don’t write YA and I don’t like vampires.
This bothers me because they assume I sat down, read a famous book, and said, “I want to do that. It looks easy and I could make a lot of money.” I’m not a bandwagon-jumper.
The Advocate: I’m surprised at how many people give me pep talks. Not too long ago someone asked what I want to do with my life and I admitted I want to write. She said, “That’s great! You should write everyday and take creative writing classes. I know you can do it.” I don’t think this girl even knew my last name, but she knew I could “do it.” Then she asked, “Have you ever written anything before?” Instead of saying I had finished manuscripts, I just said, “Yeah, a little.”
The Head-Tapper: I can tell when people don’t take writing seriously. They all but say, “That’s nice.” Once I refused to give away the ending of my book to someone and she rolled her eyes and said, “Yeah, like I’m ever going to read it.” That was unusually blatant. Most head-tappers just ask, “What else do you want to do?” I always told them I wanted to be an editor to make them happy.
The Readers: These are the people I like. They don’t know anything about writing and they don’t care, but they like books and they want to know what I’m writing. I tell them about my book and they tell me what a great idea it is and make me feel warm and bubbly inside. What I really love is when the same people ask me years later how the book is going.
The Professionals: These people are my favorites. They recognize writing is a job like any other, wish me luck, and go on to talk about their own jobs.
Do you tell people you like to write? How do they usually respond?