Ten Things Not To Say To a Writer is a trending hashtag on Twitter at the moment. A lot of what was said really struck a chord with me. I mean, I know I am not some mega-successful author like J.K. Rowling (not yet, anyway), but I am a writer and still get ridiculous comments.
Here are some of my favorite tweets from this hashtag.
"I saw your book in the discount bin at Barnes & Noble!" #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter
— Rachel Held Evans (@rachelheldevans) July 28, 2015
Please never do this if I write a book. Do not tell someone that their book is in the bargain bin. It might be there because Barnes & Noble bought too many copies. You never know the reason behind it.
I just read a book really similar to yours… #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter
— Jarrid Wilson (@JarridWilson) July 28, 2015
Similarities exist, of course, for a lot of things. Sometimes it’s crap (50 Shades of Grey), but similar plots don’t necessarily mean bad writing. Look at all the high fantasies over the years that use the “Big Quest” formula. Many tell great stories. What matters in a situation is if the writer grasps how characters and narrative work.
James Patterson writes 9 books a year! Why can't you do that?? #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter
— Jamie Ford (@JamieFord) July 28, 2015
James Patterson uses ghostwriters. People use his name and write stories about his characters, so he doesn’t necessarily write that much anymore. He used to, though. He is prolific because he can actually write. Just because something is deemed to have little literary value doesn’t take away from the fact someone writes.
Anyone could be a writer, they just have better things to do! #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter
— Kirstin Kelley (@KirstinKelley1) July 28, 2015
Um, no. Writing can be damn hard.
When I retire I'm going to write a book, too. #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter
— John Fox (@bookfox) July 28, 2015
The corollary to the anyone can be a writer. People just think all it takes is “free” time to write. It’s not really free if you are trying to focus on narratives. Not everyone can just walk up to a computer and compose a purposeful story.
#TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter "Coffee is not a reasonable replacement for a meal."
— Melodie Ramone (@Melodie_Ramone) July 28, 2015
Shut up. Yes it is.
Why do you have to use so many curse words? #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter
— Brenden Dilley (@Hublife) July 28, 2015
I have had this actually asked of me before. I curse because I feel I can. We live in a world where cursing isn’t considered as bad as it used to be. I think a well placed “fuck” or “ass” can really liven up a sentence. I know that this might hold me back from some publications, but it doesn’t necessarily detract from the quality of the writing.
"Writing YA is easy, right? I think I should try it. I need some money." #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter
— Ash Poston (@ashposton) July 28, 2015
I doubt YA is easy to write. I have a few friends writing YA and it sounds just as stressful as writing nonfiction pop culture articles. Maybe even more so.
Do people even read books anymore? #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter
— Jon Gold (@staygoldjonny) July 28, 2015
See what you have done, society? People like this exist.
"OMG! Fifty Shades of Grey is like…the best book EVER!!" #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter
— Shay Ray Stevens (@shayraystevens) July 28, 2015
Please, oh writer friends of mine, share your experiences in the comments.