Guest contributor: Sarah Elizabeth Caouette

Oh, You’re a Writer? (Reasons I’ve Started to Bite My Tongue)

categories: Cocktail Hour / Reading Under the Influence



Oh, you’re a writer? You must have a lot of time on your hands. Would you like to do some editing for me for FREE?

Oh, you’re a writer? Would you like to get some coffee sometime?

Oh, you’re a writer? I went to school for English too, but I felt a law degree was more practical.
Oh, you’re a writer? Do you want to hear my story? You might be able to use me as a character.
Oh, you’re a writer? I wish I had that luxury.
Oh, you’re a writer? Have you thought about self-publishing? I did it, and it was the best choice I made.
Oh, you’re a writer? Have you read 50 Shades of Grey?
Oh, you’re a writer? So, what do you write about?
Oh, you’re a writer? Like J.K. Rowling?
Oh, you’re a writer? I just wrote this poem for my girlfriend. [ I just happen to have the poem with me] Want to see it?
Oh, you’re a writer? Then why are you working here?
Oh, you’re a writer? And, you went to school for that?
Oh, you’re a writer? This isn’t going to end up in one of your books, is it?
Oh, you’re a writer? Everyone wants to be a writer these days.
Oh, you’re a writer? Have you had anything published?
Oh, you’re a writer? Like, you have a blog?
Oh, you’re a writer? Can you make money at that?
Oh, you’re a writer? Oh. Oh, I see.
Oh, you’re a writer? I’ve always hated reading.
Oh, you’re a writer? Have you written anything I would know?

Oh, you’re a writer? What’s your name? In case you ever make it…


Sarah E. Caouette could’ve been a lot of things. Having moved 29 times in 30 years, Consultant on Personal Relocation would be a perfect title for her, and would probably pay better, too. Fortunately, she doesn’t chase money or titles, and writing is something that just rounds out who she is:  a passionate storyteller.  And bartender in a billiards club.

She holds an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Southern New Hampshire University, and her work has appeared with: The Good Men Project, The Citron Review, Cigale Literary, and the upcoming issue of Vagabond City.

Her blog, Living in Frames, is where she writes and posts photos regarding the literary and visual perspective.

  1. reader writes:

    Sounds like the response you’re looking for is “oh” *change of subject*

  2. Kerry Headley writes:

    Great, cringe-worthy list! Bill asked me to add one to this. I posted this yesterday on Facebook:

    If you are a man who is not a writer and you are on a date with a female writer, do not ask her about writing and then interrupt her answer to say this: “Yeah, but then you run into the problem of trying to add in a bunch of big words just to TRY to sound smart.”

  3. Ace Holleran writes:

    These are marvelous. Some addenda:
    * My cousin’s a writer; he publishes his own books.
    * Maybe you’ll be like John Grisham someday.
    * I have a children’s book!
    * I’ve always wanted to sit down and just write.
    * Where do you get your ideas?
    * My uncle’s half-sister is an illustrator.
    * What are you reading? [I always simply say: “Kafka.”]
    * Do people pay you for it?

  4. J.S. Wayne writes:

    The “50 Shades” one always sticks in my craw every time I get asked about it. There’ve been a few times I was asked about that atrocity in the wrong mood and someone almost got decked for it. The editing thing I have fun with…I tell them I charge some obscene sum I know there’s no way in hell they’re likely to have. As it happens, I DO admire J.K. Rowling, so that’s far from the worst thing I could be asked. And the poetry thing: I tell them I won’t read it unless they want brutally honest feedback.
    “How brutal?”
    “Like, I might suggest you take a lighter to it if it’s not up to scratch.”
    That usually ends that right there. 😀
    Love this post!

  5. Elizabeth Hilts writes:

    I can’t pick a favorite from this because a) they are all my favorite and b) they are all equally awful things to say to writers.
    Great post!