A Writer's Pet Peeve: Books, Blogs, and Social Media

Wednesday, August 01, 2012
by Evil Erin flickr.com
Every once in a while, I have to write a post for us writers who have non-writers in our lives that say things that drive us insane and that make us feel like being a writer is a no-good job (and when are we going to actually use our degrees?). This is on my mind because I recently had this conversation with a friend I hadn't seen in a few years.

"So," she said. "Are you still writing books?"

"Yes." I smiled.

"That's good."

Feeling smug, I said: "I'm actually getting one published."


"Yep, at the end of August." 

"So, anyway, do you miss teaching?" 

(I used to teach elementary school full time.)

Excuse me, did you hear me--I said: I AM GETTING A BOOK PUBLISHED IN AUGUST? Do you realize what an accomplishment this is? AND not to mention you asked me if I am still writing books? Do I ask the mailman if he is still delivering mail? Do I ask a veterinarian if she is still taking care of dogs? I mean, seriously??

And then there's the subject of blogs. I just think as writers we all need to realize that our non-writer friends and family members are not very good at going to blogs and leaving a comment. Some of my friends will say: "I read your blog. I use the ideas for my classroom." I would NEVER know this from my blog. They NEVER leave a comment. And I am SO happy that my blog is useful for a teacher--that's the point of it. But because this is a non-writing friend who doesn't have a blog of her own, she doesn't realize how important comments are to authors and bloggers. Seriously, they are like gold. (BTW, if you are a blogger and you want comments, GO TO OTHER BLOGS AND LEAVE COMMENTS. You know--it's kind of like The Golden Rule. (smiles) )

Finally, and this is actually just a pet peeve of mine--writers or not--but I want to share it here with you because I know many of you will be nodding your head. How about when someone, possibly someone retired, is talking with her friends at a coffee shop in the morning and will say something like: "Well, it was posted on The Facebook." THE Facebook? After breakfast, they are going to go shopping at The Walmart.(smiles, again)

So, what are we to do? I'm open for suggestions. . .

Post by Margo L. Dill

Join Margo in one of her online classes this fall. She's teaching writing a middle-grade novel (beg. and adv.), social networking (beg. and adv.), blogging, and writing for children (creating a career!). For dates, syllabus, and fees, please see the WOW! classroom page.  


Karen Wojcik Berner said...

Mine is when someone asks what you do, you tell them, then they reply, "Oh, I always wanted to write a book." Really? Do you tell surgeons, "Oh, I always wanted to perform open-heart surgery?" :)

Anonymous said...


As for dealing with non-writers, my best advice is to just take a deep breath and count to ten. That said, my husband is of the opinion that it is not filtering when you count to ten out loud. Seriously? Cause it really seems to be a lot more effective when they know I'm doing it.


Christina A. Nelson said...

Good call about the "golden rule" of leaving comments! I'm a web designer right now, preparing to get my novel published, and I'm often amazed at how little people know of the social media world, throwing buzzwords around they often don't understand ;)
This article made me smile :)

Angela Mackintosh said...

Hah! That conversation with your friend is SO funny, and typical! I get the same thing all the time.

My neighbor--who thinks I'm a hermit and does nothing all day--always says, "So what are you up to?" And I tell her I'm working on a publishing deadline, and she says, "Still? So what else is new?" She has no idea how much work and effort goes into the process, and there's really no explaining it.

I don't think non-writer friends will ever understand. Maybe we should write a tongue and cheek manual for non-writers? Ooh! We should make a infographic and post it on The Facebook. ;)

Very funny post, Margo! :)

Robyn Chausse said...

Deadlines... what is the big mystery? Most working people have certain tasks they need to complete by the end of the day or the week--sometimes they work overtime and if they want to take time off they need to request it so why do people think we are any different?
Last week my eldest sister came out to visit, she never sets an itinerary... One day they rest of the family decided to drive six hours to tour a ship and then stay the night. I couldn't go due to several deadlines--their response was, "who cares, you need some fun." In other words, drop your reponsibilities? Play hookey?
Today I get a message on my cell phone from the same sister. It begins with a big sigh and she says, "I know you're really busy but I'm just sitting here going through pictures..." Okay--so now I get the guilt trip!
But, the night we actually scheduled dinner she decided to go do something else!! Why is it that as writers we are expected to always be the flexible ones?
Thanks for the opportunity to vent :)

Eugenia Parrish said...

My favorite (or non-favorite) was my Mother. When I told her I was taking time off from my job to write a novel, she said, "Oh, that's nice. Everyone should do that once in a while." I'm assuming she meant taking time off, not writing a novel, but who knows?

What I usually get is what Karen posted: "Oh, I've always wanted to do that. I've got this great story in my head." Really? Then why aren't you writing it?

I may put Angela's remark up on my wall: "I don't think non-writer friends will ever understand." Mark and re-read regularly.

Angela Mackintosh said...

Honestly, Robyn, I think you hit the nail on the head. People think that just because we work at home we're not doing anything. Do people understand how HARD it is to work at home?? You have to be so incredibly disciplined because everyone around you comes home to relax and have fun, and we're working right next to them. Just because we're physically at home doesn't mean we can take time off whenever we want!

Robyn Chausse said...

You're right, Angela, people who do not work at home really don't understand what it is like to try to write while the family is enjoying a movie and popcorn in the next room. I think this is one big reason why it is so important to interact with a group like WOW or some other writer's group--we need to surround ourselves with others who do understand.
(I like Eugenia's idea of putting your remark up on the wall!)

Cathy C. Hall said...

Margo,we get on "The Facebook" and chat with our WRITER friends (probably NOT publicly)and rant and rave (using some very "creative" language).

Or we call our mother, because a mother will give us the boost we need, because she's our mother and come on, we need some love. Except then MOM admits she hasn't read the last five stories/books/articles we sent her.

Sigh. I feel your pain, sister. (And I'm on Facebook if you need a chat-;-)

Margo Dill said...

Thanks for the writer love, ladies, I knew I could count on you. @Cathy, when you chat with me on THE Facebook, I promise not to ask you if you're still writing books. @Robyn and @Angela: Totally agree--sometimes those closest to us are the worst offenders of the fact that we have a flexible schedule.

Lauren said...

Too true on the comments! They are golden! <3 I asked my husband to put a hit counter on my blog because I wanted to know how many people had clicked and read. Other than comments or a counter, there's really no way to tell! And comments are infinitely more love. <3

Margo Dill said...

I guess I probably should have named this a writer's pet peeves (plural) since I seem to have more than one I feel strongly about. . . hopefully you only have one or even none in your life.

Diane said...

Oh boy! I loved this post! Made me laugh! Personally, I'm jealous of those who can write as a career and want to hear more about how they accomplish this! Awesome job, Margo!!

LadyAmberSkye said...

My career is not writing however I do participate in National Novel writing month and the only year I did not hit the 50k mark was the year I had a miscarriage. ( I lack the discipline of professional writers to sit down and rewrite my nano's)However my pet peeve is the non-writers who tell me yeah so anyone can do that. Really anyone have you? A full and complete story of at least 50,000 in 30 days. I may not have the discipline of a professional but that doesn't make me less of a writer. These are the same people who complain about having to write an e-mail. I get the same attitude with Art too.

Virginia said...

Oh, so many.... the people who assume that once you write a book and are instantly rich and famous...let's try broke and obscure. My mother-in-law who can't write to save her life (oh, her writing is SO, SO bad), but she decided to write a book and kept asking me "how many words are in a book?" And then she refuses to read some of what I write, refuses to discuss it, so I keep this bit of my life hidden away (I write a lot about stillbirth & grief--I had a stillborn full-term son 8 years ago, but my in-laws prefer to pretend it never happened. So there goes my life's mission into the deep dark hole of things that must never be talked about.)

I won't go on...

sally apokedak said...

So I'm leaving a comment, a little nugget of gold for you. Because I could relate. I am always blown away when people from real life say they read my blogs. Huh? Why no comments? I think it's because they believe bloggers are strange and commenting on blogs is strange.

I can't even get them to subscribe to my newsletter and be entered for a change to win a kindle fire or a Google Nexus. They seem to think putting their email addresses anywhere will cause their in-boxes to be filled with spam and/or emails from sexual predators. :) The big bad internet is a scary place. heh heh

Val said...

I proudly informed my husband that I had received my first offer of publication for a story. He said, "Go ahead. Let 'em publicize it."

First of all, he acted like I needed his permission. Secondly, the man does not know the difference between "publish" and "publicize." He's just not that into my writing.

My mom was nervous about picking up a prescription for my niece. She had to show her ID to the pharmacist. "I was afraid they thought I was making THE METH." No, Mom. I doubt it.

Emmalyn said...

I always encounter the "I have book in my head. One of these days I should write it down." I think they really think all they have to do is take a little time, a few sheets of paper, and a pen, and they'd be done, and don't understand themselves why they "haven't bothered". They don't realize they've only envisioned the story like a detailed video and that the reason they haven't and maybe can't write it down is that they have yet to consider one actual word.

Anonymous said...

I have this book in my head, but when I try to get it out all I get is mental stuttering. I do just enough writing for my job - fact sheets, technical comments on agricultural policy, economic briefs, that I just haven't been able to motivate myself enough to write the stories in my head. But, I do appreciate those of you who do. It is an exception skill and talent that I envy.

Margo Dill said...

@Anonymous: One of these days that story in your head will be ready to be written down. I think that happens to a lot of us. And then when the words are ready, they pour out. I hope that happens for you.

@Val The story about your mom and THE METH is fantastic. However, and don't tell your mom this, I had a friend who did TSA work in Regan International Airport for a while and drug runners actually choose retired couples to run drugs for them because they seem the least likely to do this. . .:)

@Sally However those same people will forward you every joke they get in their inbox and every YOU ARE WORTHY I LOVE YOU MESSAGE YOU ARE A STRONG WOMAN SEND THIS TO 20 PEOPLE YOU KNOW OR YOU WILL HAVE BAD LUCK message they ever receive.

@Virginia So sorry for what you have been through, but I'm so glad you have the power of words to work through it and possibly help others going through it to. Maybe one of these days, your in-laws will read something that helps them too.

@To all of you--thank you for your comments. You are all making me smile!

Roberta C said...

I so so so love this. My two pet peeves -- whenever I tell someone I'm a writer they always say, "I"ve always wanted to write," and then proceed to ask for writing advice and my non-writing family doesn't understand that I have a job and I am not always available because I have deadlines to meet. They think because I sit at home all day that I'm not really working and can re-arrange my schedule at their convenience. My mom is the worst. She keeps hoping I'm going to give up my little hobby and get a real job.

Sarah Butland said...

We just have to keep writing and earning respect. Unfortunately it's not like a doctor who passes on knowledge he/she gains from reading a book or many, our creativeness is internal and something people can't measure no matter how many best sellers they buy.

Surround yourself with creative / imaginative people but don't disregard those who believe you need a regular pay cheque as we need to learn from them too and you never know when we need a by-the-nonfiction-book character in our novel.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

My 91 year old Grandad reads my blog, but never comments. I didn't even know he was reading it until he sent me an email saying he liked my eating my way through England post. I felt wonderful knowing he was reading it. He didn't need to comment, he's 91 for goodness sakes...But it would be nice to have comments once and a while from my family. They probably wondering when I'm going back to teaching. LOL

Margo Dill said...

@Sharon--what a great story about your grandad. I am impressed that he sends email! :)

Chronicles of Illusions said...

my pet peeve is when people visit and they can see you are working - the computer is on but they still stay because its not real work

Powered by Blogger.
Back to Top