Top 20 Things to NEVER Say to a Writer (and the responses we want to make)

by Edie Melson
Below is my
list of comments I’ve received over the past years since I’ve come out as a
writer. Following each is what I wanted to say. I’m happy to report that I’ve
never (at least until now) given in to the temptation.
Top 20 Things
to NEVER Say to a Writer!
  • 1. Are you
    published? (I really don’t have the space here to get into this. I usually just
    do a mental eye-roll.)
  • 2. I have
    an idea for something you should write about. We could split the profits.
    (yeah, I do all the work and you get half of almost nothing. Sounds like a deal
    to me…)
  • 3. I wrote
    a book, can you contact your publisher/agent for me? (You really wouldn’t like
    what I had to say about you.)
  • 4. Why don’t you
    take the day off, it’s not like you work for a living. (unprintable reply)
  • 5. Can I
    read your manuscript? (Like I don’t have enough stress in my life already)
  • 6. Writing
    must be the easiest job in the world. (If you like 20-hour days, pennies per
    hour, horrific critiques, and serving up your heart for others to chew on
  • 7. Anyone
    can write a book, what else do you do? (see number 6)
  • 8. You
    should get that published. (Really? Like I hadn’t thought of that.)
  • 9. I’ve heard
    that if you….you’ll be a much better writer. (Nothing I like better than advice
    from someone who has no clue.)
  • 10. Aren’t
    you finished with that yet? (I am, I just decided not to submit it.)
  • 11. I hate
    reading, it’s such a waste of time. (unprintable reply)
  • 12. Have
    you ever written anything I might have read? (Yes, if morons could read.)
  • 13. Will
    you read my manuscript? (*running and screaming in the other direction*)
  • 14. Are
    you still doing that writing thing? (Believe me, if I could quit, I would.)
  • 15. When
    can I get your book for free? (What part of “I do this for a living” do you not
  • 16. Can you
    edit/write my essay for me? (I write commercially, not academically. There is a
  • 17. Will
    you make me a character? (Only if I can kill you.)
  • 18. What
    do you do with all your spare time? (in the vein of number 17, why don’t you
    come over and find out…)
  • 19.
    Writing, can you make a living at that?

  • 20.
    Writing, it must be nice to make so much money for not doing anything.
I’d love for
you all to share your experiences with funny responses as the people around you
commented on your writing life.

Edie Melson is the author of four books, as well as a freelance editor with years of experience in the publishing industry. Her popular blog, The Write Conversation, reaches thousands of writers each month, and she’s the co-director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. Her bestselling ebook on social media has just been updated and re-released as Connections: Social Media & Networking Techniques for Writers. She’s the Social Media Mentor at My Book Therapy and the social media director for Southern Writers Magazine. You can connect with Edie through Twitter and Facebook.