Skip to content

Baker’s Dozen #4: Have a positive attitude and be realistic

March 14, 2014

Rules for Every Writer to Live By For a Better Writing Life and a Better Life When Not Writing

By Joanne Lewis

#4 Have a positive attitude and be realistic

While having tea in a bookstore the other day, a man at the next table struck up a conversation with me. No, the point of this story isn’t that I was actually able to find a bookstore where I could sit and read, peruse the shelves and speak randomly to other book lovers—although that certainly is worthy of a blog post—it’s what he said when he learned I was a published author.

“My book is going to be more popular than Harry Potter and Fifty Shades combined.”

I did some quick math. That meant he believed his novel was going to sell in excess of 550 million copies.

“Great.” I considered asking if he was writing about a domineering wizard but decided to go with a more benign response. “What’s it about?”

“I can’t tell you.”

“Okay,” I took a sip of my green tea, glad he had provided what I thought would be the end to this conversation. I looked down at the book I was considering purchasing.

“I mean,” he continued, “if I told you I’d have to kill you.”

I chuckled politely. If his speech was cliché-laden, I could only imagine what filled the pages of his novel.

“Well, good luck.”

“Remember me,” he flipped a home made business card on to the table, which stated his name and below that the word, Author.

I put the card in my pocket, and then dared to ask another question. “How long is your book anyway?” I was wondering if it was long and flowing like Harry or short and sassy life Fifty.

“Don’t know. I haven’t started writing it.”

I tried to think of a snappy response but my mind was blank. Just like the pages he will probably never write.

Don’t be like this man. Have a positive attitude about your writing and be realistic.


Joanne Lewis is the author of murder mysteries and historical novels. She is also a writing and publishing coach. Visit her website at and email her at

  1. March 14, 2014 8:08 am

    Ha ha!
    Hoping to reach a crowd of readers who want to be writers at a talk I’m giving Saturday, March 22, at TWO to folks who use Hawthorne’s public library in North-Central Florida.
    Wonder if your man will be there to hear ‘How To Turn Readers into Writers’ – of will he just… dream on. ;^D

  2. L. Dean Murphy permalink
    March 14, 2014 8:18 am

    Ah, the world is filled with writer wannabes. Green tea has more substance than words never to be written.

  3. March 14, 2014 9:58 am

    The difference between wish fulfillment and making a dream come true is a lot of determination, persistence and hard work. Time will reveal if it was bravado speaking or genius. ( I suspect it was ….

  4. March 15, 2014 12:22 pm

    Ha, ha, love this story. I’ve met authors like that, too. Thankfully, you didn’t have to listen for him for too long. I’ve had some go on forever. Good story.

  5. lauren permalink
    March 23, 2014 1:58 pm

    There are errors in this blog post, too.

    “homemade” not “home made”
    There should be a period after “‘Remember me'” and the next word should be capitalized.
    There should be a period after “‘Okay.'”

    The first one might be at typo. But the second two, because they show the same error, indicate that the author of the blog post has a problem with punctuation.

    And these are just the ones that jumped out of me.

    I chuckled politely. If her blog posts were error-laden, I could only imagine what filled the pages of her novel.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: