Writers VS. Non Writers


The writing world is filled of hopes, dreams, let downs, research and possibilities. Sometimes non-writers don’t get the ways of the writing world. Have you ever tried to explain to a non-writer why it takes so long to get an agent? Why it can take years to become published? Why you continue to write even though there is no guarantee you will ever find success?

Their reactions vs. a writer friend’s reactions may be similar to the ones I included below.

The Personal Rejection: A writer friend will understand the greatness of this rejection. You won’t have to explain to them why getting a personal note from an agent is promising.

A non-writer friend may look at you with sympathy filled eyes. They might nod and smile when you tell them in great detail why it’s a good thing, but the pitiful look in their eyes tells you they only heard one word, “Rejected.”

Research: A writer friend will understand when you make an appointment with a realtor to see a house that may be the perfect home for your main character.

A non-writer friend might say things like, “Let me get this straight, you’re not in the market for a new home, but you are going to see a new home because you think an imaginary person might live in a house similar to the one you are going to see?” Warning-situations like this may make you feel a tad crazy but don’t worry us writers totally get it.

The Waiting Game: A writer friend gets that it may take months to hear back from an agent.

A non-writer friend may say things like “Just call them and ask them if they got your stuff,” or “What’s the hold up? How long could it take to read three chapters?”

Standing in the Rain: A writer friend won’t look at you sideways when you stand in the pouring rain so you can feel what you want to write. They understand that sometimes you need to get your feet wet to write in a way that helps the reader feel the rain.

When you find yourself in a situation where you are explaining to someone who is not a writer something that has to do with writing, be sure to remind yourself that their quizzical looks or rolling of the eyes is due to their lack of knowledge of the world we submerge ourselves into daily.

Have you ever encountered situations like the ones mentioned? Share your story with us.


Filed under writer's life, writers, writing, Writing

8 responses to “Writers VS. Non Writers

  1. Oh yes! I didn’t even tell most friends that I was writing until I was fairly sure I’d have something to report beyond finishing the book (which nonwriters seem to take for granted will happen, since it’s technically in your control.) Fortunately my whole immediate family gets it. Something about dragging the kids along to experiences that I needed so I could understand a certain scene…

    • Maribeth

      It took me years to feel comfortable telling others (non-family members) that I was a writer. I dreaded the looks I imagined they’d give. Experiencing new scenes is one of the awesome parts of being a writer. I like to think of it as we are absorbing life and drinking up the moments. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with us. :):):)

  2. This happens all the time. Years ago it was, “When are you getting published?” Now it’s “You need to have movies made of your books” and “Your books need to be adopted by classrooms.” As if it were so easy. I don’t get into my process with non-writers.

  3. All so true. Thank goodness my family understands… even when I’m burning dinner because a poem is “coming through,” and I must capture it on paper before it returns to the ether.

    • Maribeth

      Yes, those moments of “coming through,” are very important to a writer. It’s nice when we have people around us that understand that we need to stay in the moment or the inspiration may pass. By the way, I’d love to read one of your poems. 🙂

  4. It is tough, that’s why it’s really important to have fellow writer friends!

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