We have all had it at some point. Picture the scene, you are at a posh soiree, or simply at your mates house for a pizza, no judgement here; and someone you have never met before asks what you do. Now this is an open question, you might be a full time writer, or a hobby writer, or a wanna be writer even but for some reason you pluck up the nerve to state it in a matter of fact way;
‘Oh, I’m a writer’ You can feel the heat rush to your cheeks, giving you a full on rosy glow, you smile nervously as you await the dreaded question. You know its coming. You swallow thickly and curse yourself for your sudden bravery. You wish the ground would open up and a demon would escort you to the underground, where you belong, with your new demon friends, where shame lurks in the air.Your jaw tenses as they say,
‘A writer, oh, have you written anything I might have read?’ Now remember where you are, this person did not mean you any harm so replying with ‘Not unless you have broken into my house and read my notes’ is not really an acceptable answer. You shuffle awkwardly from foot to foot, hang your head a little and gently explain that you have not yet been published. Take a breath and remember, success is not measured in whether we have been published or not, it’s simply whether or not we have put words on paper.
Damn it. Dude, you need to rethink your answer, we all know that this question is inevitable, you ARE a writer, you ARE worthy of the title. So have some fun with it, smirk a little as you reply ‘Maybe not, but then I suppose not everyone has read Harry Potter’ Smile though, remember these people are not trying to upset you they are simply asking a question they do not realise will instil fear in us all. We are a delicate breed, writers, and we need to learn to use our skills in awkward situations.
Don’t worry, I’ve got your back, here are some acceptable (*Disclaimer, the word acceptable is to be taken I the loosest sense of the word) answers:
- ‘Not yet, but look out for me!’ Raise your eyebrows and smile, at the very least they will be unnerved and leave you alone!
- ‘Depends, are you into (state your genre here)’ Let’s face it, we have all posted a Facebook status, twitter post or Instagram picture about our chosen genre, this is a good time to tell them about it.
- ‘No’ Turn on your heel and walk away, Mr Darcy style. Although this is probably not an option I would choose, unless I was tired and narky.
- ‘Oh, no, not yet, it’s a work in progress’ This is your opportunity to tell them about your mad writing skillz. So smile, a lot and show them your enthusiasm. Remember that you are an amazing writer!
- ‘Ah, yes, the dreaded question (pause to smile, and for dramatic effect, show your teeth a lot too, this will unsettle them) to which I answer, nay, not as yet, but success is on the horizon, I can feel it in my (choose your favourite part of the body)’ I quite like saying that I can feel it in my pancreas. As long as you laugh after, people will respond to your madness. We are supposed to be eccentric, our imaginations are out of control.
- ‘Possibly not, but that’s because I was about to publish what was possibly my finest piece of writing when a group of gnomes in black balaclavas mugged me. They used their tiny hands and fishing rods to bring me to my knees where they began to pull my hair and bite my fingers…….(You take it from here guys, remember to assess your audience, don’t offend anyone!)
Keep it light folks, have fun with it, answer in any way you like and then simply explain that you are a work in progress. Let your imagination come out to play, you will be memorable, people will want to speak to you just to hear what you might say next. I love to tell spontaneous stories about a situation, you should try it, it will make you exercise your brain. You can get as silly as you like, some of my best stories have been about something mundane, like where did I get my hairclip from? It’s ok to be weird. So embrace it!
See you soon……