You’re a writer? I’ve thought about writing a book someday…

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Many writers respond to the above sentiment with a groan, a smirk, a roll of the eyes so intense they risk pulling a muscle. Some respond with downright disgust. “How DARE someone insult my LIFE’S WORK by thinking they might want to try it!”

I don’t understand this response. At all.

Okay, I suppoooose I get where it’s coming from. You’ve poured your blood, sweat, tears, and a few Olympic-sized pools of coffee into your writing. You’ve cried over rejections and woken the neighbors with your cheering when a late-night idea came to you. Your writing is your EVERYTHING. And when someone shrugs on in and decides to take it up as a hobby, this riles you up. Their lukewarm interest feels like a trivialization of all your hard work.

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So I get where the feeling originates. But I still don’t understand it.

Here’s what I would say if someone told me they’d like to write a book: “That’s awesome!”

Everyone started somewhere. There was a time when you were not a writer. You liked reading and maybe you jotted down an idea or two, and you thought, “I might like to write a book someday…” Even if that time was so long ago you don’t remember it, you were not a writer once. The person who says they might like to write a book, that person is just the belated version of YOU. They could discover a passion they never realized they had. A little picking around in the rocks could unearth a gold mine of graphophilia.

pen09And even if that person doesn’t turn out to be the kind of writer who puts off dinner to finish just one more page, that still doesn’t merit eye-rolling. Hobby writing is perfectly okay. You do not have a monopoly on creativity and not everyone needs to take it as seriously as you do. Why should they? Don’t you have casual hobbies too? Should the person who wants to learn a sport on the weekends be considered scum by professional athletes? All books are written one word at a time, so even the hobby writer who pens a paragraph here and there can still complete a book. It will take longer, but who cares?

“Sure,” you might say, “but their ho-hum attitude demeans how much I slave over my craft! They act like it’s easy but it’s hard!” True, and this is something they will find out, and it will either stop them, or inspire them, just like it did for you.

In other words, someone’s potential interest in writing does not negatively impact you even slightly. Unless this person is overtly turning up their nose and saying crappy things like, “I might write a book after I finish my REEEAAALLLL JOB” (which is a different issue), then announcing their interest in writing can only be a good thing. They have something in common with you!

We should encourage new authors. Lift them up like Simba to gaze upon the wide open world of writing. Embarking on a novel for the first time is exciting and wondrous and empowering and everyone should get to experience that.

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Tell me, how do you feel when someone says they might write a book someday? If it bothers you, please share why – I’d love to better understand.

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10 thoughts on “You’re a writer? I’ve thought about writing a book someday…

  1. ‘“Sure,” you might say, “but their ho-hum attitude demeans how much I slave over my craft! They act like it’s easy but it’s hard!”’

    I would never ever ever act like it’s easy! I totally get both sides of the argument but I agree with your side more. Everyone started somewhere. Rather than scoffing over it, why not help a bro out? BECAUSE EVERYTHING IS A COMPETITION CAROLYN. Anyways, now I’m just yelling at myself.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You’re a woman of your word (that’s some kind of writing pun without even trying – this stuff is SO easy…) – as I have absolutely no doubt if I uttered the phrase “I’d like to write a book someday” you’d be right up there at the front of the line handing out your share of “That’s awesomes!” (having hopefully trampled a few precious naysayers in the process).

    I’m all for encouraging people to write – I love seeing people with ideas and enthusiasm and a desire to get better at it. It makes me feel good to be able to help and encourage where I can. I do think there are a lot of people out there who are convinced that writing is easy and generally they get bored very quickly – and it’s amazing how easy it is to spot the difference between an inexperienced writer who has tried hard to make a piece the best that it can be and more experienced, lazy writers who are too self absorbed for editing and corrections. This latter brigade tend to be the most fiercely protective of their ‘art’.

    Excellent subject – I could ramble on at length and draw parallels with running but I will save that for a post one day!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I would have SO MANY “That’s awesome!”s for you, all wrapped up in a towering gift basket with “Do it!”s and “Way to go!”s sprinkled on top. 😀

      Oh yes, I’m sure there are people out there who think writing a book is no big deal, and I would definitely get annoyed at that person too. But someone who’s interested in writing and wants to take a crack at it, there’s nothing wrong with that. And yet I’ve heard a number of writers disagree and get very possessive about what they do. Sigh!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Everyone thinks they can write a book, just like everyone thinks they can dance or thinks they are a better than average driver. I encourage them. Let them try and they’ll either sink or swim. Nice post, I’m following.
    Here’s a quote I saw recently on FaceBook that made me laugh: “If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy.” ― Dorothy Parker

    Liked by 1 person

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