Number 1 Reason Nonwriters Think They're Writing Experts

Number 1 Reason Nonwriters Think They’re Writing Experts

Number 1 Reason Nonwriters Think They're Writing Experts
Photo by Neil Conway

Number 1 Reason Nonwriters Think They're Writing Experts 

Are you sick and tired of nonwriters who think they're writing experts? Maybe they are readers who just had to email you to inform you about the two typos they found in your book. Or maybe they left bad reviews about your new novel on Amazon. Or they are people who try to tell you what you should write about because, well, they're too busy to write it themselves. Or what about the people who think writing is so easy a monkey could do it?

Those people get on our nerves and often end up paying for their transgressions in our novels as the first characters who die.

The number one reason nonwriters think they're writing experts is that they don't have their own guts in the game.

The thing about writing is that people don't understand how hard it is until they've gone through the process of writing and actually had their work critiqued. It's one thing to write an article or a novel and think, gee, that wasn't so bad. But it's another to receive rejections or critiques on the work. It's also another thing to study the craft and work hard to learn how to write a great story.

People who have no idea just how hard writing is also don't value it the way writers do. For writers, it's what we do. It's the air that we breathe. Same with other professions. My husband is a commercial airline pilot, and there's a lot of work that goes into making sure 70+ passengers make it safely to their destinations. Sadly, because of lack of both knowledge and respect for the job, many people think all a pilot does is push a few buttons. Anyone can do that, right? But flying any airplane, especially a commercial plane, takes a substantial amount of work. And the amount of knowledge and attention to detail the job requires is astounding.

We just don't understand professions we don't have any experience or knowledge in. Readers might know an awful lot about reading good books, but unless they've attempted to learn the craft and write one, they don't know what it takes to write a good book. And maybe they aren't familiar with the behind-the-scenes work that goes into publishing a novel.

While it's easy to be annoyed by nonwriters who think they're writing experts, we do have to remember that it's partly an awareness issue. If we want the people around us to value our work, it's our job to awaken them to the errors of their ways. Perhaps we can convince them to participate in National Novel Writing Month. Who knows, maybe they'll really enjoy it. Or maybe they'll discover why writers say writing is so hard.

But if all else fails, at least we know what it takes to write a novel. And we can choose how we react to their "expert" feedback.

Jody Calkins
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