The Thing You Should Never Ask A Writer

Writers get asked a lot of questions. Successful writers get asked a lot more questions. Very successful writers get to charge people for asking questions. And amazingly successful writers don’t have to answer any questions at all.

All questions are valid, even dumb ones. Yes, there are stupid questions, and stupid people, and sometimes the smartest people in the room can do the stupidest things, so I’m not making a blanket statement, I’m just making a blanket sounding statement. But still, there is one thing you should never ask a writer. Not because it’s dumb, but because it’s irrelevant. This is an important distinction.

Don’t ever ask about a writer’s routine. It doesn’t matter. To you. It’s too specific to that one person. A routine, anyone’s routine, is about context and everyone’s context is different. This includes the time of day, the way they write, the technology they use, whether or not they can work with music in the background or not, whether they need to be alone or in a busy place. On and on. Whenever I get asked this question, I just say “It doesn’t matter” and I say it as sincerely as possible. I even smile.

The writer’s room is interesting and I can see why people want to read stories like this. It adds context. But it’s also irrelevant. I mean, do you want to wear a muscle shirt like this one while you write?

Really, the only question you should ask a writer is “Can I buy you a drink?” And if you do that, and perhaps ask it again, then maybe you can ask the writer all sorts of questions. Preferably not about writing.

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