Be Careful What You Ask

I am a writing major. And I get questions about that choice. A lot of those questions are unintentionally rude. I recently found a list of annoying questions English majors are asked, and they all apply to writing majors as well. Here’s the link if you’re curious (

Normally I don’t mind the questions. Some of them are standard ones, asked of most college students. But some of them are just insulting. Let me explain my least favorite questions and comments.

“That sounds so fun!” I am not in college to have fun. I chose my major because I want to make a career out of writing, not because I had a whim. I am extremely dedicated to honing my skill.

“Do you ever have any homework?” or “You must have such easy classes.” My course load is actually pretty heavy. You try cranking out multiple essays a week, keeping up with assigned readings, and still finding time to do personal writing. Writing is a skill that has to be practiced, just like any other.

“How are you going to make any money with that?” Probably my least favorite question. Ever. Let me just say that my major doesn’t just focus on creative writing. I major in professional writing. That means I know how to write news articles, scripts, web content, and business content. Yes, I also write short stories and novels, but that’s not all. Anywhere you see words, someone wrote them. And I have the ability to do that.

So next time you meet a writer, think before you ask questions. I understand that they can come from genuine curiosity, but sometimes it feels condescending.

Until next time, fellow wonderers!

2 thoughts on “Be Careful What You Ask

  1. I think I don’t mind the questions so much because I recognise that professional writing is a rather obscure major and most people have no idea what we study. I don’t mind answering even dumb questions, because someone’s taking an interest in my life/craft.
    What I don’t like are the condescending/ignorant comments. Things like “You must have so much time” or “It must be nice to only do what you like” or (my personal pet peeve) “Oh yeah, I writing in my spare time, too.”
    I don’t have time–I have classes, gen eds, extra curricular, AND if I want to succeed, I have to dedicate hours and hours to my own writing outside of classrooms. I don’t do only what I like–if I did, I could never succeed in writing. I write whatever I have to, whether it’s news articles (which I detest writing) or short stories (with which I have a love-hate relationship); it requires discipline and dedication. And writing in your spare time does not compare. I also doodle in class, but I don’t presume to say to art majors, “Oh yes, I love making art in my spare time.” I recognise that the time I may spend time revising and re-drawing a sketch does not compare with an artist’s dedication. If I wanted to write in my spare time, I would major in something concrete, with real “right” answers and a guaranteed job.
    ….this has been a rant. You may now carry on with your regularly-scheduled programming….

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