PDA

View Full Version : The Non-Expectations from Non-Writers Thread



NeuroFizz
04-22-2011, 05:08 PM
We have threads about the strange things non-writers say to us and now one on nice things non-writers say to us. How about the people here who have absolutely no expectations of non-writers? I don't expect non-writers to be excited about my writing. I don't expect non-writers to understand anything about the writing or publishing processes. In other words, I don't expect any level of interest or understanting greater than I have for the varieties of interests of my friends. I appreciate any queries about my writing and I try to be patient in explaining any misunderstandings. I let less-than-supportive comments slide off if the person seems to be well-intending but misinformed. And I do my best to ignore any mean-spirited comments. In short, I'm comfortable with what I do and I don't feel slighted if others are naive about my writing or about writing in general.

Anyone else feel we, as a group, can be a little touchy about our chosen passion? That we sometimes even carry a chip on our shoulders? I've decided to thicken my skin and free my shoulders from the excess weight. Although I sometimes get frustrated with the misunderstandings, I'm trying to not react. And on balance, I suspect I've said some really dumb things about the personal interests of others.

alleycat
04-22-2011, 05:18 PM
Yeah. When I first started writing I would give my work to friends to read. Of course, I expected a "That's great!" response, but I made a point of asking them to tell me what they liked or didn't like (I wanted constructive criticism). What I got back was usually a noncommittal "It was good, I liked it" response--which didn't really help me. Now, I only ask non-writing friends to read my work to look for any grammatical errors (I have one friend who is very good at this, but is absolute no good for any other help with the writing).

Most non-writers are just not going to be that excited about something until it's published, and we really shouldn't expect them to be.

pezie
04-22-2011, 05:23 PM
I agree with you. I find the misunderstanding of a friend's personal interests and life goes beyond writing and into everything. As the mother of twins, you should hear the comments and questions I get asked, for instance. There are some doozies.

I understand talking about it here is just a way of venting to a community of like-minded individuals who understand our frustration. Though I think we need to realize not everyone obsesses over the writing process and publishing industry like we do. Naturally. Most people mean well and just want to make conversation.

To put it back on myself, if I had a friend who liked skydiving, for example, I might immediately say, "Wow. Dangerous." My skydiving friend probably hears that a hundred times a day. It doesn't mean I'm not supportive, it's just the first thing that comes to mind.

Life is a lot less stressful if we just relax. So, smile at the well intended and supportive, ignore the rest.

COchick
04-22-2011, 05:31 PM
Although I really love getting compliments, and I like laughing at some of the stupid things people have said to me, I've had to learn to not expect much from non-writers. If I walked around expecting things from people, I'm sure I'd be quickly disappointed.

Jamesaritchie
04-22-2011, 05:37 PM
I never talk about my writing to non-writers, and only with a very few writer friends.

Phaeal
04-22-2011, 06:17 PM
I don't expect anything from nonwriters, except that they buy my books. ;)

Actually, I love talking to people about the things they're really passionate about -- you learn so much, from a living source, and it's one of the greatest gifts you can give someone, to let them expound at length about their interests.

Libbie
04-22-2011, 06:26 PM
I've stopped expecting non-writers to understand that there is a huge difference between being traditionally published and self-publishing. Yes, even though bloggers have speculated that self-e-publishing is the WAAAAAVE OF THE FUUUUTUUUURE!!!! and it will inevitably make traditional publishing futile and obsolete. *snork*

I calmly remind them that when the photographic camera was invented, doom-sayers predicted it would be the end of the art of portrait-painting.

I will not stop expecting the non-writers in my family to understand that I am making good progress with my writing even though I'm not published yet. Because the only reason why they don't get it is because they're not listening to me when we have conversations about it.

quicklime
04-22-2011, 06:53 PM
Anyone else feel we, as a group, can be a little touchy about our chosen passion? That we sometimes even carry a chip on our shoulders? .

\
That we're special little flowers, that we need love and engouragement and for everyone to be as rabidly enthusiastic as we are, that we'd make the Taliban jealous with our myopic zealism?

Never :tongue

it's one of the reasons there are less than a half-dozen people who know me personally and know that I write; I've met too many of "that guy"

quicklime
04-22-2011, 06:59 PM
by the way, follow-up on Libbie's comments and another reason I keep it to myself:

I tell people I make beer, they either insist they "don't like dark beer" (honest, you can make light beer at home too) or they ask if anyone has gone blind, completely missing that crude and failed distillation processes and "spiking" bathtub gin were the causes of methanol poisoning during prohibition.

I tell my mom what I do (I help people with PhD-level educations and an inability to read protocols back-track to where they screwed up) and she tells a friend "oh, he could have been just like those guys on CSI"

there are many things the average person thinks they know all about, and they don't actually know a damn thing.....writing happens to be one of those, and i'd rather not try to educate them about something they aren't all that interested in, when I could spend the time talking about something more mutually entertaining with them. No judgement against them, I don't know anything about cars, either....but I also don't go out of my way to talk to a mechanic about cars, then...we'd talk fishing, or beer, or whatever else

Jamesaritchie
04-22-2011, 07:24 PM
Actually, I love talking to people about the things they're really passionate about -- you learn so much, from a living source, and it's one of the greatest gifts you can give someone, to let them expound at length about their interests.

This. The last thing I want to talk to non-writers about is my writing. I want non-writers to talk to me about their lives, their wants and needs and passions.

People love talking about themselves, and as a writer, I can learn from and use everything they say. Why bore them by talking about a profession that's nothing more than sitting alone and typing when you can listen to them and have something worth writing about?

TrickyFiction
04-22-2011, 08:24 PM
And on balance, I suspect I've said some really dumb things about the personal interests of others.

True, but I also suspect they laugh about it with their peers. It's a very human thing to do, relieves the frustration of feeling like an outsider, and reenforces a feeling of community.

That said, I don't expect people who don't write to take an interest, and I'm often surprised when they do, which usually leads to a lot of me fumbling around in complete social shock. You know... or it could be that I'm just naturally a dork—probably, that's what it is.

Erika_Lindsen
04-22-2011, 08:59 PM
Yeah. My mother never seems excited. I think she feels not much work goes into it. She never asks, and when I tell her things she dismisses it. Kind of hurtful.

Fruitbat
04-22-2011, 09:20 PM
I agree with the ones who don't expect anything. After all, what are the chances that I will find their interests or jobs all that interesting? I'm sure my comments on their worlds can sound quite dim too, you can't know about everything.

So while I may (or may not) care about them, that doesn't mean I care much about their fascination with quilting, mechanical engineering, shoplifting, nursing, coupon clipping, etc. A little bit in general terms is fine to share imo but I find it most satisfying to focus on topics of common interest.

Diana_Rajchel
04-22-2011, 09:44 PM
I don't know many non-writers that are total non-writers these days. The Internet, it causes changes like, 4 reelzez. Let me rephrase: I think I know plenty of non-writers that do not recognize entirely that they are not writers, but instead are electronic socializers.

I too got the "that's, er, good" response when I first tried to get feedback. Sometimes my husband asks to read my work, and while his comprehension is good, his notes are illegible and I feel weird taking advice from anyone that close to me. Also, I'm writing a book about divorce, so having my new-ish husband read it makes me uncomfortable.

From more distant non-writers, I usually expect them to ask me what I write, and inevitably ask me about something Steven King wrote (my brain takes horror poorly, so I have to miss much of his relevance) or about some science fiction/fantasy read. Since I write nonfiction, I generally have to extricate myself or change the subject.

Hm, I have a few social events to attend this weekend with unknown groups. I may tell people I work as a janitor.

Kitty Pryde
04-22-2011, 09:59 PM
I try not to talk about it much. My closest friends know I do it and sometimes ask what I'm writing about but that's about it. My family is like blah whatever. I told my partner, after a million unsuccessful attempts to get her to read my work, that it was fine, when I get a book published I'll thank her in the acknowledgements and also write that she hasn't read the darn book! They aren't the people I'm writing for anyways.

I'm even wary when I meet people who say they are writers. I get all excited, then I always get disappointed when I ask for more details and get some stupid bullcraps like "I outlined a story that came to me but I can't bring myself to write it" or "I cannot possibly start my first novel, book 1 of a nine-book fantasy epic masterpiece, until I figure out what type of flora the adventurers will encounter on their quest." (Yes, someone really said that to me. He has a PhD. Le sigh.)

Ranting and raving about my writing, well, I have you guys for that! I have a handful of AW friends who are usually around to IM with, so I don't bother with baffled Muggles any more.

Diana_Rajchel
04-22-2011, 10:11 PM
Ranting and raving about my writing, well, I have you guys for that! I have a handful of AW friends who are usually around to IM with, so I don't bother with baffled Muggles any more.
:e2coffee: *laughs* Before we had Muggles, I think we all had to be freemasons or something. What would do without them?

NeuroFizz
04-22-2011, 10:50 PM
Thank you all for commenting. I, too, like to talk to others about their creative passions. It's fun to see the variety of interests and activities of friends.

Jamesaritchie
04-22-2011, 11:08 PM
I agree with the ones who don't expect anything. After all, what are the chances that I will find their interests or jobs all that interesting? .

For me, the chances of finding someone else's interests and jobs fascinating is darned near 100%. It's all grist for the mill, and chances are I will, at some point, give a character the same interests, and the same job.

heyjude
04-23-2011, 03:22 PM
I tell people I make beer, they either insist they "don't like dark beer" (honest, you can make light beer at home too) or they ask if anyone has gone blind, completely missing that crude and failed distillation processes and "spiking" bathtub gin were the causes of methanol poisoning during prohibition.

Like pezie's twins. And any time it comes up that I'm a vegan, someone always asks "Where do you get your protein?" It never fails. And yes, I belong to boards where we talk about that and vent our giggles/frustration/whatever. TrickyFiction said it well for me:


True, but I also suspect they laugh about it with their peers. It's a very human thing to do, relieves the frustration of feeling like an outsider, and reenforces a feeling of community.

kaitie
04-23-2011, 07:22 PM
But but but...what about B12! :tongue

I'm actually someone who doesn't talk much about my writing with most people these days. I've generally had a friend or two I discuss things with who help me sort out plot points when I'm stuck, or let me bounce ideas off, but I'm very careful about those, and I'm aware of when they're bored and I won't discuss it.

But for the most part, the vast, vast majority of people I meet don't even necessarily know I'm a writer. I learned a long time ago that, while many people might be vaguely interested, they don't really want to hear about it. I get, "What do you write?" a lot, and so I sum it up into one sentence and move on. A couple of people at work have asked more questions, but it's actually to a point where I'm almost embarrassed when I get the extra attention because I don't really think it's warranted.

Pretty much, though, aside from occasionally telling my mom, "I had the coolest idea!" I don't talk to anyone seriously other than my boyfriend, who gets to hear me ramble on and enjoys it. I got lucky with that one. But he's technically a wannabe writer, too, so maybe that's why?

AlwaysJuly
04-23-2011, 08:25 PM
I don't find talking about writing particularly different from talking about anything I'm passionate about. People sometimes say something dumb about writing, long distance running, the military, whatever. It's either out of ignorance or because it's Just Not Something They Would Want To Do.

And, for the most part, that doesn't hurt my feelings. I still reserve the right to repeat what they say for the lols, though.

heyjude
04-23-2011, 09:28 PM
But but but...what about B12! :tongue

Nutritional yeast and fortified foods! No problem. :)

Nick Blaze
04-24-2011, 12:53 AM
I have no other friend who has ever finished a manuscript, when not for a class. I suppose technically we wrote screenplays in Creative Writing, though. I don't really, know any writers.

So the non-writers are generally my friends and family. I don't usually talk to them about my writing anymore than they talk to me about their job. When they say, "I was at work from 9-9 today" I usually say, "Man, that must've been rough."

Most people I know think they could write a book, but they very much lack the drive to do so. Most never get past 4k. So in essence, I try my best to avoid talking about writing. I might post milestones on my Facebook (Yay, 90k words now!) but that's about it.

blacbird
04-24-2011, 09:59 AM
I no longer have expectations of any kind. Expectations only lead to despair and grief. Does that count?

Fruitbat
04-24-2011, 10:21 AM
I no longer have expectations of any kind. Expectations only lead to despair and grief. Does that count?

Blacbird, have you ever tried selling your stories together as a book? No expert here but what I've heard is (1) your work is good and (2) a book sells much easier than a story. :)

maestrowork
04-24-2011, 12:32 PM
I have no expectation.

I do, however, get tickled when a non-writer friend is an avid reader and shows interest in what I do. Quite a few do: they're fascinated that I write books. That's always a good thing. But no, I don't expect everyone to feel the same way or even understand what I do is a "real job."

However, the other day a friend said, "Your job seems hard. I can never do it." That makes me feel pretty good -- that what I do is a real job. :)

rhymegirl
04-24-2011, 09:18 PM
I'm a reporter so I am constantly listening to other people's interests and accomplishments.

Sometimes I have to feign interest, but I'm pretty good at that. I know they're telling me about things that really interest them, so I have to nod and act interested and say the right things.

As for me talking about my writing to non-writers, that's hard. They just don't really care. I much prefer talking to other writers.