The other week a hashtag trended on Twitter: Things Not To Say To A Writer. Ever had to explain to a non-writer what it’s like to write a book? People seem to view writing as this luxurious thing you do that requires minimal effort. 

“It’s not really work, is it?”

“It’s not work if you enjoy it!”

"How hard can it really be to write a book?"

Okay, compared to manual labour, writing is ridiculously easy. You sit at a desk, drink at your side, and smash out words. Sometimes you pause to gaze contemplatively out of the nearest window, or listen to a particularly inspiring song. Other times there's a really amazingly good reason for you to be on Twitter for an hour or so... but then it's back to writing, am I right?


To an outsider, it looks pretty idyllic. And it has its moments when it really is precisely that – easy. I don’t know about all of you, but compared to the physicality of my day job, being a writer is fairly lazy.




Because we know what line edits look like. We know the agony of a writing block, and the pain of rejection. Lots of rejection. ALL of the rejection. We know what it’s like to come home from the day job and get to work on a novel. We know the sacrifices we have to make. It’s not like we’re all making money from writing... yet.

Everything’s relative and you can’t compare one thing to another. My day job doesn’t compare to my life as a writer, just as the life of a teacher doesn’t compare to that of a neurosurgeon. And if you haven’t tried writing a novel, maybe don’t go telling someone who has how easy it must be. Because it’s not. It’s hard work, dedication, passion, excitement, disappointment, determination and a huge commitment. You take part of yourself and put it into words, and that's not as simplistic as it sounds. Not by a long shot.

How do you cope with people who don't understand the realities of writing novels?


  1. Ugh! I didn't see this on Twitter, but I've been a bit sporadic there lately. I can totally relate though. The main one I've been experiencing lately is people (very kindly) asking "Oh, so how is the book deal going?" ... even though I've only just recently signed with an agent. It's hard when they are well meaning but have no idea how much work actually goes into this, nor what the process is!

    I don't have any great verbal comebacks. Mostly I just shrug and smile and say "Oh well, this takes awhile."

    But one day int he near future I'm going to make a blog post about the Trad Pub biz and hopefully I can point people there!

    Also: Love the new look! I need to revamp my blog soon as well!

    1. Oh gosh, I bet you have! It just goes to show that people really don't get how sloooooooow publishing works. I look forward to reading your post in the future ;)

      Thanks! I'm a little bit addicted to looking at my blog's shiny new style.


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