The topic of dreaded questions came up in the last post on measuring artistic success; I mentioned being asked, “So have you been published anywhere?” Nova brought up a dreaded question of hers, “So do you have a literary agent?”
That got me thinking about ALL the questions that I just CANNOT stand being asked as a writer. Some of them piss me off, some of them show off the asker’s
cluelessness ignorance, some of them reinforce my self doubt, some of them freaking hurt my feelings, and some of them, yes remind me of the truth. Most of them carry the message of being judged as a writer, whether the asker is trying to assess your “level of success,” or questioning your choice to be a writer, etc. Rarely are these questions asked in the name of sincere interest or curiosity.
Here are some questions that you should please not ask me, the writer, in the name of “small talk” (or maybe, EVER):
- So, have you been published anywhere? (not as a leading question, please no–though you can ask me at some point).
- So, do you have a literary agent?
- How long have you been working on that novel? (Once, someone asked me that question and then followed up with, “How come it takes so long? I have a friend who wrote a novel in one month! Like *snaps her fingers* THAT!”)
- Is there really a point to getting an MFA? What do you DO with an MFA?
- Why would you want to be a writer?
- So, does your husband support
your hobbyyour writing career?
- Are you going to write about me?
- What do you do all day at home?
- Do you make any money?
- What’s your novel about? (followed by glazed eyes–if you are really interested, this can have a very cool outcome).
Those are just off the top of my head. What are yours? Next up…ways in which to ANSWER these stupid questions.