I am a writer. Therefore I always have a movie worthy best seller book in progress. (My last book was…SO CLOSE!) Up until last week, I also had a full time job which of course gave me the perfect excuse for why I could not work on my book. You know, “I am so excited about my new book, I just wish I actually had time to work on it” thing we tell people when they ask how it’s going…I would sit at my job, and think I SHOULD be home writing, practicing my craft. You would not believe all the brilliant ideas that came to me as I was doing my daily reports and checking Google Analytics. Such a shame that my Pulitzer Prize masterpiece has to sit on the back burner for so long.
Then, changes at the office led me to an important decision. It’s time to devote myself to THE BOOK. As I heard the words coming out of my mouth, the, “You know, I think it’s time for me to devote myself to my writing and thank you so much for the opportunity you have given me here,” my heart was beating faster and faster. The book the book! I kept thinking. The book! I will have this thing banged out in a few months now!
I woke up that first morning, job free and energized. I made my coffee, sat down in my office and took a deep breath. I opened my computer and felt like a real writer! THIS is what I was meant to do. I pulled up my MS, re-read the few chapters I had already written. Read them again. Moved my cursor to a new empty spot on the page and….
NOTHING. I GOT NOTHING.
Instantly panic sets in. Not only am I out a paycheck, I don’t even have an excuse as to why the BOOK is taking me longer than it took Salk to perfect the polio vaccine. I had to talk myself into sitting there and out of taking a Xanax. And then I began. And the words are coming. Slowly, but surely I am writing a book.
The upside? I’m happy. I’m fulfilled. I’m excited. The downside? People asking me, “So, how’s the book coming?” So here is my guide for us writers who are fighting the fight and don’t want to answer any questions right now about our baby. Feel free to send it to friends, family and anybody else who thinks they are doing you a big favor by pretending to be interested in your answer to that question.
5 THINGS NOT TO ASK A WRITER
1. How are book sales?
Before you ask me this, check the New York Times Bestseller list. If you do NOT see my name on there, then do not ask me this question. Trust me, if I actually earn back my advance you and everybody else who I have ever met will be the first to hear about it.
2. How’s the book coming?
Did I call you while you were in labor and say, “Hey! How’s that baby thing coming? Is it almost out?” Here’s the thing, it’s a role of the dice. If I had a good writing day I will talk to you for hours about how great it’s coming. If I had a bad writing day I may burst into tears and lay my head down on the table while you try and drink your Mocha Soy Latte as if nothing is happening. You will find either scenario quite painful.
3. What’s the new book about?
Only ask me this question if you are prepared to answer “That sounds amazing! I can’t wait to read it!” If you are going to look at me, and say, “Huh? I don’t get it..” or just stare at me open mouthed, eyes squinted as if I have just told you “I think I want to shave my head and dye my head yellow,” don’t ask me. You have no idea how far this may set me back.
4. Am I in it?
Yes. I have quit my job and devoted my life to writing a book ABOUT YOU. Nora Ephron said, “Writers are cannibals.” I love this. You may be in it, you may not. It’s something you have to live with if you are in my sphere of existence.
5. Can I read it?
Sure you can. As soon as it comes out on Amazon. Because if you read it now and don’t send me back a comment saying this is the best thing I have ever read, or this is a for sure best seller, I may scrap the whole thing, and go back to freelance writing home descriptions for the real estate magazine that told me I needed to use a Thesaurus. In my defense how many ways can you say, “A true tropical paradise awaits you in this home on the Gulf of Mexico?”
Other than this, feel free to ask me about my work any time.