What you say and what writers hear

If Twitter has taught me anything it’s that people who create stuff are a deeply neurotic bunch, quick to panic and anger, sliding into hopelessness at the slightest knockback, yet at the same time doomed to megalomaniac dreams of world domination (when I say ‘people’ here, I obviously mean ‘me’, you see). My own second book having just come out, I’ve been thinking a lot about the (mostly very kind) things people say, and what your neurotic brain thinks they actually mean.  For example:

They say: Here’s a list of some people we think wrote good books.

We hear: We looked at your book too, but it was so bad we all read out bits to each other in funny voices and had a good laugh about it in the pub.

I loved your book. It was the most moving, exciting, beautiful thing I have ever read –but by the way there’s a typo on page 94.

Your book sucks and I’d rather pluck out my own eyeballs than read another word you write

Random Twitter Personage: ‘I just read a book that I didn’t like very much but I’m not going to say who it’s by’.

I obviously mean yours, [YOUR NAME HERE]. You’re such a bad writer that the pens flinch when you come into the room.

Sales haven’t been as good as we hoped yet, but it takes time.  

There’s the door, sunshine. Don’t let it hit you on the way out.

You clearly have an exciting career ahead of you.

I see McDonald’s are hiring for floor staff.

Have you heard of A N Other Writer? I really like them.

And I hate you, loser.

I saw you at that event – you seemed to be having fun!

You were clearly hammered on all the free room-temperature chardonnay and made a complete tit of yourself, especially that bit when you tried to compare Baudelaire to Taylor Swift.

I read your book – wasn’t it funny about that bit that was very similar to something I once said or did?

I know it’s about me and you’ll be hearing from my lawyers post-haste.

It took me a while to get into your book, but I ended up loving it.

I hated it. You’re boring.

‘_____________’ (the deathly silence which emanates from one you know has read your book but not responded

I hated it. We’re not friends any more.

Oh yes, I read your book.

I hated it but am afraid to say.

Oh yes, I read your book.

I didn’t read it.

Oh yes, I read your book.

I have no idea who you are.

I tell you, it’s exhausting being this neurotic. I might go and have a lie-down in the cupboard under the stairs, or anywhere else that has no internet connection. At least the spiders definitely haven’t read my book.

About inkstainsclaire

My first novel THE FALL was published by Headline in 2012, followed by THE LOST (2013) and THE DEAD GROUND (2014). I'd love to hear from you if you are interested in my work or just want to say hello. Or even if you have any good household tips for getting ink out of sofa cushions. I am represented by Diana Beaumont at Rupert Heath.
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2 Responses to What you say and what writers hear

  1. The spiders read your book. They hated it. That’s why they haven’t said anything about it.

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