When I first published, I thought I had a pretty good idea of what to expect as an author – book signings, blog entries, late nights writing and editing. All of these expectations were accurate and came with the job, but there were a few things (okay, maybe more than a few things) that I didn’t expect.
Chances are, if you’re an author or planning on becoming one, you may run into these oddities. But don’t worry – just like doing any job, you’ll be able to weather any storm with patience and experience. 🙂
1. People will ask you to write their book.
One of the first conversations I had after announcing I was publishing The Ripple Affair was the simple question, “Will you write my book for me?” Following said question was an explanation as to why this was a good idea to them: “I have so many great ideas, but not any talent to do it. I can tell you what to write and then you can write it for me!”
No. Just, no.
Writing a book is hard work. It takes time, patience, and lots of dedication. That being said, your story should be written by you. Grant it, there is the subject of ghostwriting, but that topic aside, there’s something special about writing your own story. It’s yours and no one else can claim it. That, my friends, is something to be proud of.
As for having “talent”, rarely does a writer know everything there is about writing. We’re learning just as much about our language and its syntax as any student. Writing is more than just typing words on a paper – it’s a growth, one that never stops, even after the work is finished.
2. People will request to help you write your book.
A comment that makes me laugh (or cringe, depending) is when a person comes up to me and says, “You know, I’m not trying to tell you how to write your books, but I have this great idea for a character/story/setting, that I really think you should put in there.”
Trust me – you’ll quickly learn how to say, “Write your own story” in the most polite way possible.
3. You may not want to write on some days.
Writing is my life. It has always been my life. But some days, I just don’t feel like writing.
Between stress, volunteer work, family, health issues, and the temptation to drool over all those awesome Pinterest recipes, there are some days when the writing just isn’t flowing like it should. And you know what? That’s okay. We all have days where the creativity takes a breather. That doesn’t mean the writing will stop or you’re wasting your time. Like any job, you just have to be persistent. Don’t get down, and don’t give up!
4. Some people don’t take writing seriously.
If I had a dollar for every time someone told me to “get a real job”, I’d be a millionaire.
There’s an unfortunate stigma that being a writer somehow equals unemployment. Grant it, writing doesn’t always bring the best pay (or any pay, for that matter), but writing is hard work, and mentally, it can be grueling.
Why? Because writers today don’t just write, typically. They also edit, format, illustrate, design web sites, run blogs, market their books, do research, attend conferences, teach…there’s an endless list of all the things writers do in order to publish a book and make it a success. Being a writer is not a simple 9-5 job. It’s a passion that lasts all day and all night, 365 days a year and 7 days a week.
Are there oddities about being a writer? Certainly. But despite the setbacks or inconveniences, the good tends to outweigh the bad. Every moving plot, every good review, every connection you make with a reader through the words you write is worth all of it.
What are some oddities you’ve run into as a writer?