20 Embarrassing Things Every Goddamn Writer Says

Being a writer is actually very easy compared to most other available jobs, unless you care about things like income and respect. Then it starts getting a little tricky. The act of putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard has been romanticized by nerds for centuries as an act of badass wit, when the simple truth is that any idiot can write a book, and most of them do. Writing a book is a super dorky thing to do, and thanks to a certain kind of writer, it’s starting to become downright unbearable. Consider this article an intervention. Please stop embarrassing us so much. Next time, think twice before saying something like...

20. “My biggest muse is coffee.”

Or insert any other variant expression that boils down to claiming how much of a coffee addict you are. Listen, everybody loves coffee. You aren’t unique or quirky. Stop embarrassing yourself. The two things every writer has in common is A) they’re not as good as they think they are and B) they love coffee. When you brag about drinking a lot of coffee, all you’re succeeding in doing is prompting me to visualize your asshole in a state of perpetual exhaustion from defecating all day. The best possible writing advice I can offer you is this: give that asshole of yours a rest every now and then—and please, for the love of god, wash it more than once a month.

19. “I’ve been writing since I was just a little kid.”

Read or listen to any interview with an author, and this question inevitably rises. The “How long have you been doing this whacky thing?” question. And the answer is always the same: “Oh, as far back as I can remember, ever since I was a little kid.” This is not an impressive thing to tell someone. In fact, you couldn’t sound more milquetoast. I don’t care if it’s the truth. Come up with something more interesting people actually want to hear about it. Maybe Russian mobsters murdered your book-loving parents. Maybe a boat sank and the only object in the sea keeping you afloat was a thick tome of Moby Dick. Maybe you accidentally got a book pregnant and now you have to constantly write new ones to satisfy your new father-in-law. I don’t know. You’re the writer, right?

18. “I’ve spent the last decade of my life working on my masterpiece.”

Writers seem to think that just because they’ve been working on the same book for several years, that means it’s going to be some sorta magnum opus. I’ve lost count of how many times someone’s come up to me at a Comic Con and said, “I’ve been writing a novel for the last seven years. It’s five thousand pages long and will be a bestseller. I’m sure of it.” It’s not going to be a bestseller. Consider yourself lucky if more than one person beyond your bloodline actually reads it.

If your imaginary friends won’t talk to you, it’s probably because they’ve realized you’re a gargantuan loser.

17. “Writer’s block is when your imaginary friends won’t talk to you.”

I have no idea how to respond to someone who talks like this. First off, writer’s block isn’t real; it’s something we make up when we’re too ashamed to admit we don’t actually want to be writers. Second off, if your imaginary friends won’t talk to you, it’s probably because they’ve realized you’re a gargantuan loser.

16. “Maybe this Pushcart nomination will finally earn my father’s respect.”

At one point, several years ago, every single author in the world included “Pushcart-nominated author” in their bios. Lately, I’ve seen less and less of this abomination, but sometimes they still manage to trickle through the cracks. However, in its place, people now claim to be Amazon bestsellers because, for about ten whole minutes, their book placed #1 in some super niche category only five other books are even published in. Everybody is laughing at you behind your back. Please cut it out.

15. “I’m a full-time writer.”

Yeah, but you’re also omitting the fact that either your parents are rich or your spouse has a job that allows you to stay home. Also, I’m very jealous of you, so shut up. (Also, this entry refers more to those writers who don't actually really have anything published, yet still find the nerve to look down on people who do have day jobs. I've encountered them many times. Usually at social gatherings during small talk. You can just smell the ego on them. Then, later you find out they receive a monthly check from their parents and that's actually the only source of their income. Ugh.)

14. “If a writer falls in love with you, you can never die.”

Yo, if someone tells you this, file for a restraining order immediately. Your life is in danger.

13. “I tell lies for a living!”

That’s not what writing means, you absolute idiot.

12. “Hi, my name is Neil Gaiman.”

Oh my fucking god, shut up, Neil Gaiman. We know who you are. You don’t have to tell us.

11. “I’m a writer. What’s your superpower?”

Carpal tunnel isn’t a superpower. It’s a serious condition that can cause severe damage without the proper precautions. Please seek medical attention as soon as possible.

10. “Link in the comments.”

Yeah, we know where the link is. And besides, do you really think Facebook’s Russian algorithms haven’t caught on to this scheme yet? Nobody is reading your statuses unless it’s promoting white supremacy, so just knock it off already.

09. “I’m silently correcting your grammar.”

Listen, sometimes bullies are necessary. If you wear a t-shirt about grammar you can’t be mad when someone eventually dunks your head into a toilet.

08. “My characters have a mind of their own!”

No they don’t.

07. “My internet search history makes me very edgy!”

Sometimes writing fiction, especially horror and crime fiction, requires authors to research some rather morbid details on the world wide web. Most normal people do the research, then return to writing, and never mention it again. Most. Other writers, they’ll type in the search term and immediately start giggling like a dickhead and post on social media about how if the NSA were reading their browser history, they’d be locked away forever. Another variant, something often found on t-shirts, consists of something like, “DON’T READ MY INTERNET SEARCH HISTORY. I’M NOT A SERIAL KILLER. I’M A WRITER.” Honestly? We would probably respect you more if you were a serial killer. Nobody gives a shit that you Googled how to dispose of a dead body. It’s 2019. Everybody with an internet connection has Googled much worse and you don’t see us interrupting your newsfeed of adorable kittens to tell you about it.

06. “Ask me about my book.”

Fact: nobody wearing an ASK ME ABOUT MY BOOK t-shirt has ever been asked about their book.

05. “I would love to write/read more, if only I had the time…”

I hear this constantly, and you know what? Nobody is forcing you to binge an entire season of Stranger Things in one day. If you want to write, then make time for it.

04. “I hate writing, but I love having written.”

This is something I’ve witnessed many writers say—from unpublished to professional—and it’s always left me baffled. If you don’t truly enjoy the act of writing, then why are you doing it?

03. “Circling your head, contemplating everything you ever said, now I see the truth, I got a doubt, different motive in your eyes and now I'm out. See you later. I see your fantasies. You wanna make it a reality, baby, paved in gold. See inside, inside of our heads yeah. Well now that's over. I see your motives inside, decisions to hide...Back off! I'll take you on! Headstrong to take on anyone. I know that you are wrong. Headstrong! We're headstrong!”

Wait a second. Those are just the opening lyrics to Trapt’s infamous, award-winning single, “Headstrong”, aren’t they? Fun fact: Our Managing Editor, Joshua Chaplinsky, will often pace through the LitReactor offices screaming this song at random times throughout the day. It’s actually quite terrifying, but goddammit, it gets us motivated.

02. “If you aren’t careful, I’ll put you in my next novel.”

Ugh. Perhaps the worst offender of them all. Go to Twitter and plug “put you in my next novel” into the search bar, then comfort your loved ones as an infinite scroll of migraine-inducing tweets generate on your screen. Laughing at this quote is like laughing at The Big Bang Theory: impossible without the correct amount of horse tranquilizers pumping through your system.

01. “I am in crippling debt oh god what have I done with my life. Please pre-order my new novel.”

Okay, whoops, this just got too real. But seriously. Please pre-order my new novel.

Get Touch the Night at Bookshop or Amazon

Max Booth III

Column by Max Booth III

Max Booth III is the CEO of Ghoulish Books, the host of the GHOULISH and Dog Ears podcasts, the co-founder of the Ghoulish Book Festival, and the author of several spooky books, including Abnormal Statistics, Maggots Screaming!, Touch the Night, and others. He wrote both the novella and film versions of We Need to Do Something, which was released by IFC Midnight in 2021 and can currently be streamed on Hulu. He was raised in Northwest Indiana and now lives in San Antonio.

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