“I am headstrong, a bit impatient and a self-starter, and that has served me well in writing, although it has not always led to me taking the most traditional paths.”
“I can’t speak for everyone that does what I do, but I LOVE asking people questions. People are fascinating and often questions lead people to share a really interesting (or weird, or both) anecdote or story and that is the BEST!”
“The debut novels you see in bookstores might be the author’s first published novels, but they’re not necessarily the authors’ first novels. It might be their second, third, fourth novel. One of the most crucial attributes you need to be a novelist is to have patience. Plenty of it. It’s a slow process.”
“… or “Have I read anything you’ve written?” (the vagaries of getting a play published aside, when was the last time you picked up a play at your local library or bookstore to read?)”
“Not ‘where do you get your ideas?’, which is very broad and fairly useless and mostly lends itself to snarky comebacks the writer thinks of ten minutes later (or already has prepared. Mine is, “Anywhere I can get them, baby.”)”
“Essentially they’re asking me what the writing is doing for my life: what I’m earning from it, where it’s taking me, what I get out of it. Which is fair, because those are generic questions that can be applied to most jobs, and when you’re talking to strangers, generic questions are easiest.”
Asking me how writing is going can often open a can of worms. So what’s a safer, more sure-fire question?
Occasionally at parties someone will ask the dreaded question: “So, how’s the writing going?”