IWSG: (Least) Favorite Writing Questions

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
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Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG.
The awesome co-hosts for the January 2 posting of the IWSG are Patricia Lynne, Lisa Buie-Collard, Kim Lajevardi, and Fundy Blue!
January 2 question – What are your favorite and least favorite questions people ask you about your writing?
Sometimes, I like to take pieces of my novel to work so I can revise during my lunch hour. That’s one of those hit-or-miss propositions. Sometimes, I really do get work done. Other times… well, you can’t expect an extrovert to understand that two notebooks, a pen, and a set of headphones aren’t an invitation to talk.
So, between the fact that I try to use my lunch hour efficiently and the fact that I have co-workers, a lot of people know I’m writing  “a” novel.
Most of them don’t understand how difficult that is, or that the process is not a straight path from A (Writer comes up with an idea) to B (New York Times Bestseller List.)
There are a lot of people who know, and quite a few of them think it’s a good idea (because once I get to B (New York Times Bestseller List), I will be able to set them up with Rock Stars. (Because when you hit the New York Times Bestseller List,They automatically give you Mick Jagger’s home phone number. It’s the Law.))
My least favorite question? Anything with the word THAT in it. How’s THAT novel coming? Did you get THAT novel published yet? Have you and Keith Richards snorted anything off THAT novel yet? (No, I don’t know why I’m on a Rolling Stones kick this morning.)
THAT implies that there is only one novel. It completely ignores the process, and mostly ignores the progress I’m making. There’s an element of condescension and disbelief there. (Sure, I believe you’re writing a novel.) And a vague, not-quite interested kind of interest. I haven’t been working on the same novel the whole time I’ve known most of these people. I put up a website, a blog, loads of short stories, and yes, more than one novel.
On the flip-side, I like the questions that include the phrase “How do you…” Every now and then, someone asks HOW I do something. Having information that other writers want reminds me that yes, I am making progress. I learned how to do that, and now I can help others. HOW do you get a book published? (Well, I know the theory, anyway.) Something that implies they want to do the thing, themselves.  Which, of course, also implies that I am not alone in this.
Happy New Year, and all my best wishes to everyone!


  1. ronelrottweiler


    “Every now and then, someone asks HOW I do something. Having information that other writers want reminds me that yes, I am making progress.” That’s a great feeling, right? I hope you have a successful 2019 🙂

    Ronel visiting on IWSG day 2019 Goals, Resolutions and Questions

  2. Reply

    What a fun post Karen. I can picture your lunch breaks so well. That’s how I spend mine too, mostly. And wouldn’t it be a fantastic source of inspiration to have Mic Jagger’s phone number? I bet he’s lived quite an amazing life. Happy New Year, and Happy IWSG Day 🙂

  3. Reply

    Happy IWSG Day! Thanks buches for stopping by my blog.
    If I’d known I’d get to meet rockstars after hitting the bestseller’s list, I’d have taken this writing thing more seriously… Oh wait. I do. He he. Perhaps we writers write for some reason other than hanging out with Mick Jagger?
    Great post. It made me smile. I too like when an opportunity arrives where I can help another writer.

  4. Reply

    I’m still laughing about your Keith Richards line. Hilarious! I think we need author shirts that read, I’m writing, go away, or something far more clever.

  5. Reply

    Well said–especially “you can’t expect an extrovert to understand that two notebooks, a pen, and a set of headphones aren’t an invitation to talk.” Yeah, been there.

  6. Reply

    You made me laugh. THAT was a great post.

    Yeah, I get it. Somehow it is implied you are wasting your time even with the inquiry. Some also ask because they know you don’t like being ask I think and they want to see your uncomfortableness and others mean well. I have been dealing with the 1st batch lately, that want to show me how I am wasting my time without stating that.

  7. Lee Lowery


    It is amazing how clueless extroverts are to “subtle” indicators from introverts that we just want to BE LEFT ALONE for a few precious minutes. I’m with you on both Qs. Don’t ask when it will be “finished.” But I can talk about how, why, where, etc. all day long. Well, okay, maybe 15-20 minutes. Then I need some alone time. 🙂

  8. Reply

    My sentiments exactly! I’d rather people ask questions about my ideas versus wanting a progress report. 😛

  9. Reply

    I live with extroverts so your comments on them made me smile. Thankfully, they really support my writing so all I have to do is let them know I’m writing and they’ll leave me to it. And sometimes I need to focus on something else anyway but don’t know it yet. 🙂

    Have a great 2019!

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