My Writing Pet Peeves

I don’t know that I have a lot of pet peeves. To me, writing is like any other creative endeavor – people are going to make their art to match their inner vision. They’re going to break writing rules in their own way, or be excessively devoted to the rules. And that’s okay.

So, writing pet peeves for me? Not so much. But pet peeves about writers? Yes.

Every time a group of writers gets together, certain personalities come out of the woodwork to plague the group. You just have to learn to cope with them the best you can. Maybe you’ve met some of them:

The Salesman: This person is their own biggest fan, so much so, they not only inundate you with their business card and bookmarks, they also go on…and on…and onandonandon… about their book. Even when all you said is, “Where’s the restroom?” Ugh. Please sell your books to readers who can afford to buy them, not to writers like me. I’m busy trying to sell my own books and make a profit to support every other writer I meet.

The Unproven Expert: This person talks as if they know everything ever known to man about writing and publishing. But when you ask them what they’ve done, how much they’ve sold, who they’ve worked with… All they can say is that they’ve self-published, just like you, or they haven’t published at all but they’ve read every issue of Writer’s Digest they can find. They have no real expertise, just a real ego. And you can’t talk to them because they can’t accept any opinions other than their own.

The Never Writer: This person has never actually written anything. Not even a poem or a short story. They have a great idea that they’re not willing to share with you because they’re afraid you’ll steal it and make millions off it. They talk endlessly about the novel they’re never going to start.

The One-Book Hemingway: This person has self-published a novel that is poorly written. But now that the book is for sale and they have a hard copy of it in their hands, they think it’s brilliant. They show up to your critique group thinking that you have some secret magic wand in your pocket that you can wave over them so they can turn into instant best-sellers. They eagerly share their work, and you of course critique it (because that’s what you do at a critique group). They tell you you’re wrong about your opinion  because see, here’s an actual book in their hands. See? It’s made of paper and everything.

If you’ve been writing for long or attending critique groups, I’m sure you’ve met these people. Tell me what you do to deal with them. I wouldn’t mind hearing some suggestions to help me out with these pet people peeves of mine.


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