Acceptable answers to the question all writers dread…

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……

Word of the week (11)

Hey there folks, you know we all like words that are obscure? We wouldn’t all be taking up this little corner of the internet if were didn’t right? Well this one is a doozy! I love to find out that weird things have actual words for them, it makes me smile quite a lot, so I’m passing that smile on to you guys with this one………

img_4978

An aglet is that little bit of plastic at the end of a shoelace! Mind blown right? Who even knew that had a name? Amazing! Next time one of those pesky little things comes off you can announce in a loud voice that you have just broken your aglet and see how many people think you have broken some obscure bone in your hand or something?!

Why is it so comforting to find things that have names that you didn’t know had names before? It just is though. Am I right?

Go and check your aglets, they might be missing and you need to tell someone stat!!

See you soon word lovers.……..

When you feel like all the stories are taken

You know when you sit down to write because inspiration has hit and you are all excited and you reach for your coffee and have a moment of unwanted clarity…… damn…… this story has already been written. So you get annoyed with yourself and go and eat some cake, or is that just me?

Let me tell you this friends, the story may well have been told before, it may have been told in 42 thousand different ways and although it may sound cliche (come on, who doesn’t love a good cliche?!) it has never been written by you. You have something special, something that no one else has; your voice. You have the ability to tell a story that is completely different to anyone else. Cling to this. Remember it when you feel low. Write it down and leave it where you can see it. Print out my quote. Do whatever you need to do to move forward. I believe in you!

If I am totally honest I am still working on my voice, I write exactly how I speak on here and that is when I’m at my most comfortable. In the same way that no 2 people speak the same, no 2 writers write the same. If you can’t think of a story you want to write, reimagine one you already know. You may find an unexpected comfort zone.

And if you need a little pep talk or gentle push then give me a shout, let’s not do this alone!

See you next time…..

Self doubt ‘v’ I’m a genius moments

We all have self doubt, that’s a given, no one is so super confident that they think they are great all the time. But a lot of people talk about self doubt and how to get over it and in my opinion the truth of the matter is that you can’t. There, I said it. Controversial I know. But hear me out.

Self doubt is what keep’s you going, sounds backwards right? No! It’s really not! Because you strive for perfection and you feel that you are not good enough which means you will continue to write, your writing will improve and you will get better. So embrace your self doubt, it’s what helps to spur you on.

Genius moments on the other hand. Can be a total double edge sword. On the one hand you may have actually written something that is clearly a work of genius that needs to be recognised by the whole world over and will probably secure your name in history along with Shakespeare and Stephen King. You feel that swell of pride and give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done. And on very few occasions, it really is that good, however if you leave it for a couple of days and then re-read it you will often wonder how you thought that was acceptable. Did a deranged ferret break in during the night and mess with your work? Is this some kind of cruel joke?

The answer my friends is no, you were just high on the little piece of magic I like to call ‘finishing a piece of work!’ But you enjoy that feeling, revel in it, bathe in it and make it your own. But remember, after the ferrets have broken in and you come to reread it, please remember that self doubt can be your friend too.

Obviously you are all geniuses who don’t need to rewrite your work, I know this cos you hang out here with me! 😉

See you soon…….