Thursday, October 21, 2010

That Awkward Question

If you're a single girl of child-bearing age, the dreaded question is likely to be, "So, are you dating anyone yet?" The cringe-worthy question that makes you want to scream, "It's none of your damn business!" You probably want to wear a sign that notifies the world that asking is not necessary; if and when that time arrives, you will make sure they all know.

For an unpublished writer, the question becomes, "How's the book thing going?"

Admittedly, if you are in my close circle of friends and family, I've spent countless hours boring you with every bump on the emotional rollercoaster, so you are not the person asking this question.

It's casual acquaintances, mostly, who ask it in a friendly way, knowing that it's important to me, that it's cool I wrote a book, feeling like they're bonding with me by asking. One word: Don't.

It's not that I don't appreciate your interest, it's just that responding causes me pain. Where do I start? That I'm chewing my fingernails, waiting for the rejections to come, that I live with the constant fear of not being good enough, that I should move on to the next big thing but am paralyzed that the next one won't be any good either? What part of that do you want to know? You don't.

So I smile and say, "Good," because you're asking the equivalent of "How are you?" and it doesn't matter if I'm dying on the inside, it's not really worthwhile to go down that road with an acquaintance.

So if you know an unpublished author, wait for him or her to bring up the book. If you're in the inner circle, it won't take long. If you're not, you'll be doing that person a favor by asking about something--anything--else instead.


  1. I guess I am just different. I am thrilled when anyone brings up my writing. I love conversations that give me the opportunity to explain the complexities involved with the modern publishing process.

  2. I feel the same way. Actually, this is why most people don't know about my writing if I can help it.

  3. You should crack on with the next one, girl! Don't be put off by rejection. It comes for many different reasons, and the most least likely reason is that your not good enough. Never take it personally! Every time you write, you get better, like in most things in life. Practice makes perfect. The secret to success is to never give up on your dream. If you don't believe me, Google it :D

    You're doing great! Don't put yourself down, there's really no need :) We all feel like this at some point, it's quite normal. Please, tell me I'm normal! LOL

    And Katherine, you should be loud and proud of being a writer. It's a very awesome thing to be. :)

  4. Kurt- have I told you how much I love you? Next time I'm feeling low, I have your wonderful comment to reread. Thank you, my friend. From across the pond, you made me smile so big.


  5. :) Awesome! Keep smiling :D

    Did you hear I finished my novel yesterday?

  6. What more can I say after Kurt's awesome comment? I can't outshine him. ;)

    When you talked about your emotional roller coaster, you reminded me of this cartoon from Debbie Ohi:

    We all go through that, at some point. Just hang on, and try to enjoy the ride!

  7. Ahhh...I've been missing around here but I had to comment. Don't feel bad when people ask. I know, it's tough but at least you never have to say 'oh those? haven't sold any really.' That's a lot harder to do.

    Just the fact you can hold it back is really great. As for me, I barely write anymore. I've been working on turning my book series into a comic book instead. I hear less questions now and it seems so much funner to SEE everything come to life instead of just hear. (Don't have to worry about profit anymore either, all for fun) But I will see you around as I have started to get back on twitter again.

    Good luck to you dear, and this was a decent post. Lets me know exactly which stage you are at right now.

    Ha ha! I am logged into my husbands Google. I forget my password...(cough cough)Around here somewhere but anyhow this is Melanie/Novella Ray or whatever I call myself these days.:)