The 6 Worst Things You Can Ever Say to a Writer

The 6 Worst Things You Can Ever Say to a Writer

My literary agent is pitching my book to publishers. As you can imagine, my nails, cuticles, and all other bite-able bits are bitten off. Completely. I’m afraid to step into a nail bar for the inevitable lecture and judgment. This is crunch time. The numbers are solid on social media, my chapters have been read, reread, and reread another dozen times. Criticism has been sucked up and actioned. Now it’s time to let my bookbaby go and be pitched. I feel like that girl sitting at prom waiting for someone to ask her to dance. I got a great dress, had my hair done, followed make-up tutorials on YouTube… but I’m sitting there in the twinkly dark very much alone. And pregnant.

I feel a tremendous mommyhood parallel to this whole writing process like so many before me. Like I had a child and have dropped them at nursery – all normal, right? Except it’s a nursery that judges, comments on, and rejects your baby. Kicks them to the curb.

This is my baby. The one that came out of my head instead of down there. What if they hate her? What if she’s not funny enough?

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m pretty carefree but I’m also a bit of a dramatic worrier. (some extreme gemini traits.) And what do we do when someone is worried? We offer up help and advice and try to remedy or “fix” the situation. So, in between the sob sessions when I get early rejections (already) back from my agent, I’ve taken the time to jot down some advice I’ve received. Verbatim. No, really…no exaggeration. The thing you’ll notice about the advice is that it’s almost all the worst things you could ever say to a writer.

  1. If they don’t want you, you don’t want them. Thanks mom but this isn’t me trying out to make the higher level of playing the clarinet. I obviously want them. They have all the power here. Hard to take a higher stand.
  1. You’ll find a window somewhere. Sure I will or a catflap? Or maybe I can sneak into the building via the garbage collection room and camp outside the publisher’s door to… patiently wait? Or is that stalking? Anyway, what’s another 10 years. I can still call myself a writer, right?
  1. I hope you get rejected. Ummm thanks, daddy. Yes, I get that it’s character building and I should see every setback in life as a beautiful opportunity to grow… but I’m tired. And worn out. And I love her. I love this baby proposal I birthed and I can’t have someone tell me that her ears stick out or that one eye is bigger than the other. It just might break me. I’ve been living off the smell of the oily rag of hope for two years. Isn’t that enough?
  1. I have a printer at home. Okay, so I’m not making fun, but really guys…a printer at home? Even if it’s a printing press, or a 3D printer, it really means you have copies and copies of your own book lying around at home. And no, that’s not an appropriate goodie bag stuffer at a child’s birthday.
  1. Why don’t you write for a magazine? Because I’ve been blessed enough to have done that already and I really have my heart set on seeing my published book out in the world. (And on bestseller lists.) Dropping from your dream from book to an article feels like slow waltzing the history teacher at that prom night. Just wrong. Or is that just me? Maybe I shouldn’t be so hasty to reject the history teacher with a combover and damp hands…
  1. Just do X, Y, or Z. (Insert latest social media platform.) Yes, I know I should be all over YouTube, the boss of Pinterest, spanking it on Snapchat, and have my own magazine on Medium. There are many roads to Rome. But you know what? When you’ve got a toddler, a baby, and a bump, you stick to whatever route you can manage. If you’ve read my “Pomodoro” This post you’ll know that I only ever have 25 minutes to do anything and I’m so busy peeing (due to the 32-week old bump) that it’s kinda hard to be all over social media when I generally like and comment from a toilet seat. Or locked in a closet for three seconds.

So, readers, any positive words of encouragement you may have will be better than the above. Oh, and prayers.  Anyone who does both will get a free signed copy of the book…if, no no, when it comes out!



  1. October 16, 2016 / 7:28 pm

    I love reading your stuff Sara Sadik! It’s appealing, honest and soo relatable. So there those are my positives for you to know that your book will be a huge success (and not because u promised me a free book;))
    So good luck to you and may the God’s smile upon u!

    • October 25, 2016 / 10:15 pm

      Thanks so much…so sweet of you to say. Really. Ummm…how much do I owe you for those compliments? 😉

  2. October 20, 2016 / 3:39 pm

    These are the most horrible things I’ve heard said to a writer waiting to hear if they’ll get a publishing deal!! Can’t top any of them.
    Your prom dress is gorgeous and so are you. Fingers crossed for you!

    • October 25, 2016 / 10:14 pm

      cross those toes too please! AHHHHH!

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