Writing is hard. Add that to the constant pressure of college being the limbo between dependence and independence and it doubles. Everyone struggles in college one way or another, everyone knows that. And yet, we as writing majors still get discriminated by fellow students, and worse, by our own relatives.
1. “But what will you do with a writing degree?”
VARIATION: The classic scoff.
USUALLY SAID BY: Relatives, college students with a BS degree, or just anyone who thinks we suck.
Seriously? Didn’t you know that writers are flexible in the field, and that they have lots of opportunities to tackle what they want to tackle through their chosen medium? It could be newspaper, or television, or film, or magazine, or online platforms — it’s a wide range, darling. Writers raise awareness for things they want to talk about, and for things they think the world should talk about. Writers inspire, inform, empower. We as writing majors have been doing that and will continue to until we get out of university and be a part of an even larger cause.
2. “Have you had any of your work published?”
This might be hurtful for us, since we’re most likely be still figuring out our voice. But we try, here and there. We do research papers and creative outputs for school though, so if you would just kindly ask what we’ve already wrote for our classes instead, then this conversation wouldn’t put us off. You’re lucky if we tell you about that one piece we’re mighty proud of that got us a high grade.
3. “What do you write?”
Words. So many words. Hundreds of words that sometimes blend in just the right manner to form a good piece. But seriously, when we respond with “It depends”, it means that you shouldn’t have asked, because that would lead to follow-up questions we much rather not answer right now.
4. “Are you planning to write a book?”
It’s surprising how people’s perception on being a writer can be limited. Yes, maybe we want to become novelists. But maybe we want to be playwrights. Or screenwriters. Or poets. Or essayists. Or columnists. Or travel writers. Again, it’s a wide range. People shouldn’t expect every writing major to want to write a book, because maybe it’s not their calling. Just wait for us to say want we want to write for a career.
5. “Can I read some?”
6. “It’s not so hard, is it?”
Ultimate red flag. It’ll surge our temper up a notch in this one. We understand that other people think it’s easy, because what they see is the end product. They don’t know that we have our little rituals before we enter our zone and write. They don’t know that sometimes we lose sleep because we’re still writing until sunrise. They don’t know that having a block is such a heavy mental and emotional state we have to endure on occasion. They don’t know that editing might end up with us sighing tiredly over our work or throwing our computers across the room. They don’t know how hard it is to create a rhythm for a specific work. All they see is the finished material written with a satisfying tone good enough to be submitted.
Even though it’s understandable because other people don’t know what we go through in a process, it’s better to never say this line to us. It’s rude. It might end up getting terribly cussed at, or passive-aggressively wrote about (that’s what we do best, after all) on social media. Beware.