How to Handle The Non-Writer ‘smirk’ #amwriting #writers #writerslife

How to Avoid The Non-Writer Smirk-2


I recently experienced the dreaded smirk from someone close to me, a non-writer, in relation to my writing.

I told them that I liked to write and when asked “so are you writing a book then?” I replied “yes” and they smirked.

The dreaded smirk from a non writer can make you feel embarrassed / silly / ashamed / stupid / want to shrivel up and crawl away. It’s the ‘roll of the eyes’ combined with the ‘I can’t believe they actually write stuff’ amused expression which totally floors you.

When it happens to you the smirk reaction can knock you off your writing bicycle for days, sometimes even weeks.

Writing is such a personal thing and for some writers the dream can be crushed so easily.

Here are some ideas on how to handle the dreaded smirk from the non-writer:

1. Laugh. Yes – laugh about how something inside you makes you spend hours, days, weeks in isolation, staring at a laptop screen, muttering under your breath, creating people and worlds that don’t exist and churning out millions of words.

After this person stopped smirking I laughed so much they thought I had lost my marbles.

2. Steamroll the smirk – elaborate on how awesome it is to be…blogging with other artists…polishing up a manuscript…engaging with editors…working on cover ideas…sharing with writers from around the world…etc. This fab idea is from fellow blogger D. Wallace Peach 🙂

3. Change the subject. Accept that they are never going to relate to your writing, some people are not imaginative. It’s not a bad thing being unimaginative. The subject of writing must be hard to relate to if you are an unimaginative person. So to save you both from further anguish quickly change the subject.

4. Rise above it. Its not worth getting upset about or even writing a blog post about for that matter.

5. Carry on writing. The sooner you start writing after the smirk / snigger the better. If you leave it then their reaction will fester inside you and make you think about doing silly things like giving up writing.

6. Grow a thicker skin. Yon can’t let the reactions and comments from other people derail your writing goals. I need to do this. I think it has a lot to do with writing confidence and I am sure if I keep writing overtime I will grow this thicker skin.

7. Email a writer friend. I did this and it worked a treat. This fellow blogger / writer was very supportive / very understanding and put me back on my writing bicycle – thx Candice 🙂

8. Poke in the eye with blunt stick. A radical but effective way of dealing with the smirk. Thx to Anita Faulkner for this tip 🙂

9. Turn them into an annoying character in your book. Another radical but very satisfying tip! Thx again to the very creative Anita Faulkner 🙂

Sorry for the rant. I don’t usually rant but I needed to get this off my writing chest.


A final note to the person who smirked after hearing that I am writing a book. I am still writing it. #stillwriting


photo credit: <a href=”″>tip 4</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a&gt; <a href=””>(license)</a>photo credit: <a 

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I am a blonde writer of romantic comedy fiction.

72 thoughts on “How to Handle The Non-Writer ‘smirk’ #amwriting #writers #writerslife

  1. Unfortunately, some people don’t understand that we’re not all writing nonsense. Unless a person is a voracious reader and has a respect for how hard being a writer is, you’re going to see that stupid smirk and/or hear a lot of stupid comments. Ignore them. Keep on doing your thing. They won’t be laughing at your book signings, will they?

      1. They’re regional. Mine is ever-present, but thankfully never sounds ignorant.

        I know most people take their American accents from TV shows and movies. Every speech teacher explains that it is somehow the shape of the tongue that forms American English without any kind of regional accent. Accents for specific regions have to be taught. I had NO idea I even had one until I heard myself on someone’s answering machine when visiting. I was appalled.

  2. Keep Calm & Write On! I think that’s how the OLD saying goes. 🙂 I’m glad SOmEOneE wrote a blog post about this issue. It is a struggle, to be sure! I’m working on that thicker skin, but to tell the truth, I’d rather not end up looking like a rhino. Just sayin’

      1. Turn that smirk upside down…no wait, that doesn’t work. hmm… ignore the smirk, don’t be a jerk. Your words are art, so excuse the fart. I might need to work on my encouragement poetry.

  3. I never tell people who don’t write themselves, as I’ve found I don’t like any of the reactions, which so far have been the smirk you describe, where it seems as if they think we are being silly to try, which says more about them than anyone else. Secondly where they dismiss the effort involved by proclaiming ‘Yeah, I could write a book, lots of stuff has happened to me’ (if it were only that easy!) and thirdly, the nice people who say ‘That’s so cool! Show me some of you stuff! I bet it’s great!’, which is too much attention on the subject and makes me want to hide under the bed. In an ideal world, letting someone know I write would get the same reaction as letting them know I grow veg and like knitting little owls.

    1. They asked me about my blog and I knew that I was on dangerous ground. I tried to reverse out of conversation but failed. I think I might just run and hide under the bed the next time someone asks me 🙂

  4. What’s interesting is how a lot of people don’t think of writing as “actual” work. They don’t how mentally exhausting it can be, the same as any other profession.

  5. I like number one best, though they are all useful ideas. I also like to steamroll over a smirk by expanding on how awesome it is to be…blogging with other artists…polishing up a manuscript…engaging with editors…working on cover ideas…sharing with writers from around the world…etc. That usually takes care of the smirk:)

  6. Smirkers tend to smirk at everybody and everything. When they’ve been smirking for several decades, they get smirking wrinkles so that they wear a permanent non-erasable smirk on their faces. This means that there’s a high chance of them causing such bad offense to someone who perceives them smirking, even when they’re not, that it might possibly lead to violence, at which point the smirk is permanently removed from that person’s face and replaced by … well I’ll leave that up to your imagination.
    Have a lovely day 🙂

  7. Number’s 7, 8, and 9 seem like the best methods… I’m so sorry you got this smirk. I can’t think if I have yet, but mostly I get the, “oh I have this great idea’ remark and I want to put duct tape over their mouths, because I don’t’ want their ideas. I want mine.

    I am all up for commiserating with other writers.

  8. Steamrolling…I hadn’t thought of doing that, but I may have to use that one. #9 is great. This is what I do, even if I only use the feeling they invoke to fuel my writing. I no longer get truly upset at the smirk, or people not understanding what I do. I only feel pity for them. I can’t imagine a life where I would choose to not be creative. In the end, we need people who can’t write because like the rest of us, they are drawn to creativity and will buy our work.

  9. I love the “laugh” reaction! Emailing writer friends about troubles is what I usually do, and it really does help. And totally show off all the cools things about writing and the amazing people you’ve met while being a writer/blogger. You are a star, so shine like won, gal pal. I love your work, and I want to read all of it, so slap that in their smirking face next time! You’ve got a fan base here!!

  10. You are welcome! There is some grand wisdom you shared here with these points. I must say though that #9 is my favorite. Its like that whole staring a person in the eye while un-holstering your loaded gun except for its your keyboard. You are staring them down, your fingers at the ready saying with looks alone, “do you really want to go down this road? I type 100 words a minute on a bad day. Just imagine the devastation should you get me started.” Bad bad bad…but I have done this 😛

  11. Ah, the ‘oh you’re a writer smirk.’ I always kept these reactions to myself, thinking I was the only one who got them. Thanks for opening up that closet and letting us all come out. Usually my reaction is to steamroll the smirk; now, though, If that doesn’t do, a stick is perfect…

  12. We, as writers, can always get our revenge through our writing. I like the idea of writing them into a story. You can then do what you would like to do to them in real life without any of the annoying consequences. The best idea though? Keep writing, and when you’re a published and successful novelist, smirk right on back!

  13. I just stumbled upon your blog…I just kept jumping from one awesome blog into another and I didn’t even know until today that there was this world out there, but I’m getting distracted. I’m really glad to have come across this. I’m not a writer myself, but my best friend recently decided to quit being a lawyer and become a writer (which I think is an amazing and bold decision), and I’ve been trying to find ways to be supportive. This has been a wonderful link to share with her. Thanks a ton!

      1. Lovely to meet you too! I’ve been browsing through your blog for an hour now. I love your work! My friend loved it…she’s just started blogging too (and I’ve sent her a link to yours) but is too shy right now to go public with it. I’m hoping all the amazing bloggers I’ve been coming across will inspire her.

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