Ten Things You Should Never Say to a Writer

A friend and fellow writer found this painful-yet-all-too-true list on Pinterest. The proper title is “10 Things People Say to Creative Writers (but shouldn’t)” by Graphospasm. Having personally been a victim of Item #6 (“Have you been published yet?”) this list struck an ouchy chord with me, reminding me that a lot of people who aren’t writers don’t “get it.” In many cases, they don’t know what will hurt our feelings, what will make us bristle, and what is just plain RUDE.

I have no doubt the person who asked me whether I’d been published wasn’t trying to make me feel bad. Yet, he did. I was not published at that time, and I can still remember the feeling of my face turning red as I tried to stammer my defense: “Well, to get published, you really have to submit aggressively. Like, a lot of stories, to a lot of different publishers, and so far I haven’t really done that…” He was not impressed. Cue horrible feelings of failure.

Looking back, I feel bad that I felt bad. There was no reason for me to. I should have recognized that this individual simply didn’t understand the truth about writing (or publishing, for that matter), and made an uneducated remark.

The truth is, it’s HARD to get published. 85-90% of it is LUCK – the right story hitting the right market at the exact right time. Not being published isn’t a sign of failure, and it’s certainly no indication that your work isn’t good. What’s more, some writers don’t even WANT to get published. It’s not even on the agenda for them. One of my best friends has been writing short stories since grade school, and, to my knowledge, he has never once submitted one for publication. His joy comes from the writing itself. From having created something. From sharing that creation with his friends. From watching our “EWWWW!” faces and hearing our belly laughs as we read.

I wish I’d read this list a long time ago, before that encounter left me beet-faced and stammering. And, more importantly, I wish I’d read Graphospasm’s wonderful, pithy responses and more serious-toned explanations for each item. Just like getting your flu shot, you can inoculate yourself against rude (or well-meaning-but-ignorant) people by being prepared for the comments you might receive when you tell folks you’re a writer – and even having some funny answers ready!

So go check out this cringe-worthy list – plus the awesome responses the author and commenters came up with:


Hold your head high, be proud of your craft, and have fun building up your immunity!





Great Reads, Volume 2: It’s Raining You-Know-What


Before we get to the awesome stories, I just wanted to say an enormous “Thank You!” to everybody who came out to the Chesterfield Petsmart on Sunday, December 21st to support Furget Us Not Rescue. The event was a big success, all because of you! 🙂  In the near future, I will be doing an in-depth piece about book promotion to help my fellow authors, including what worked and didn’t in terms of advertising, a copy of my proposal, event dos and don’ts, and much more. In the meantime, though, I have a nice little post-holiday gift for my fellow fans: FIVE absolutely excellent stories for you to enjoy – two original flash fiction pieces, and three fanfics, all on the theme of cats and dogs!

The two original stories aren’t just two of the best cat and dog stories I’ve ever read – they’re two of the best stories I’ve ever read, period. Seriously, if you haven’t read these, your life is not complete. Go fix that now, by reading and reviewing these phenomenal fics.

In terms of the fanfics, we’ve got one for The Mentalist, one for Smallville, and I even went old-school with a golden oldie written for The X-Files! So go forth, read, and enjoy!


The Last Accounting ” by JR Hume

For full appreciation of the awesomeness, make sure you read the Rainbow Bridge verse by William M. Britton. You will need tissues for both the poem and the story. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Also, if you love the story: a.) let the author know and b.) check out the plethora of other stories by JR Hume!

Nikki Comes Home” by Christopher Owen

This one just rips me to shreds. But, like, in a good way. I’ll never forget this story as long as I live, because of how deeply it touched me. So short, so sweet, so perfect. Another major Kleenex alert. If you love it (and you will), tell the author!


The X-Files

Walk Like a Man” by Windsinger (aka Sue Esty)

Took me three days to track this one down, but man was it worth it. I couldn’t let myself give up, because I just had to share this story with other fans. When something you read has stayed in your heart – like exact quotes from the text – for over a decade, you know it’s something special. Another Kleenex Alert (best to have two boxes on hand), and warnings also for disturbing themes of child abuse. The overall message is positive, but the journey is rough. You have been warned.


My Favorite Things” by paperbkryter

No tissues needed here – all smiles for this one. A sweet Season One story featuring the beauty and innocence of Clark and Lana’s early friendship. Oh, yeah, and there’s some really cute cats in it. A guaranteed pick-me-up after the first three tear-jerkers. 🙂

The Mentalist

Big Red Tabby” by ruuger

Another one that’ll leave you smiling. The talented ruuger lifts Jane out of his gloom and sends him on a mini-adventure to help out a worried little boy, with some adorable results. Features great characterization, as always, plus some nice jokes and sweet moments. A very well-rounded fic.

Don’t forget to review!

Up Next On ATHF: November/December Race Highlights, January Race Results, 10 Things You Should Never Say to a Writer, one of the BEST writing resources on the web, 10 Reasons The Mentalist Fans Will Love Forever, and Care and Feeding of Your Forever Obsession