10 Things You Should Totally, Definitely, Absolutely Say To A Writer » VSB

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10 Things You Should Totally, Definitely, Absolutely Say To A Writer

Code Red Films


#Tenthingsnottosaytoawriter has been trending all day, and has produced some gems, including…


But, what do writing-ass people actually want to hear? Good question.

1. “Yeah, we definitely pay writers. Wouldn’t dare ask you to work for free or for “recognition” or some bullshit like that.”

2. “We have direct deposit.”

3. “We received and processed your invoice, and your check is on the way.”

4. “Do you mind editing this document for me? Oh, and what’s your hourly rate?”

5. “Man, I could never be a writer. Thinking of an engaging and unique topic and angle. Writing, editing, rewriting, and editing again — and making it all cohesive, readable, and even entertaining — just seems like a lot of work. I don’t know how you do it.”

6. “Are you hungry? I have a bunch of extra pancakes and lobster and bacon from this morning. Come right over and get some. Oh, and help yourself to that bottle of Grey Goose too! I know it’s been a tough day.”

7. “The wifi is complimentary.”

8. “We need to establish a new holiday. Call it “Give a writer some sloppy and enthusiastic head” day. And today could be the first day!”

9. “You know, after seeing your headline, I was ready to fire off an angry email to you. But then I read the entire piece — and then read some of your previous work for a better context and understanding of your voice and perspective — and I get it. I still disagree, but I see your point.”

10. “Thanks.”

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for GQ.com And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at damon@verysmartbrothas.com. Or don't. Whatever.

  • “I read your last ten books/articles/think peices, and its cool how they were all made into top grossing movies…”

  • as a canadian that recently travelled to the big apple..free wifi is like a dude that has a big..print AND knows how to work it. cuz #NoCountryForDataRoamingCharges

    actually..i lied.
    it’s BETTER.

    can i add things you can say to a writer?
    i’d love to guest post for you so you can take a break for at least a day. ha!

  • Tierrasays

    Number 10!!!

  • Mos Native


  • As a consultant, that #3 is the TRUTH! While I don’t exclusively write for consultant work, a decent amount of it requires technical writing, and that 30 day invoice love is the truth. And royalties? ROYALTIES!


    Need I say more? And lemme get in on the sloppy head for writers thing, OK?

    • Oh YES to #3. What type of consulting work?

      • Scientific consulting. Right now I want to Lynch one client because they decided to tell me four months into the project that I require access to some data that both costs Hella bread to get access to and would have solved a lot of issues from jump if they would have said it. Now I have to investigate so I can hold on to this check. Screw those idiots….

        • uggg sucks. I write grant proposals ( in addition to other things). This sometimes turns into a consulting gig when the company that request my services haven’t fully developed their ideas enough to even apply for the grants, so I have to guide them

          • Same here! Which can take a 50 minute project into days worth of work.

    • JanuaryBabe

      Todd….you crack me up!!!! And how do you insert that picture? What’s it called?…..btw…..I love your comments!

  • uniquebeauty79

    NOT getting paid must be a big thing, Luvvie went in on someone once before for asking her to write for them and return she was to get EXPOSURE…I luv her because she was like Ohhellnawl #tothecornerforseveralseats_/_/_/_/
    Next time someone asks you to write for free tell them to let you come sit on their front porch with a bowl of Fruit Loops and use their wifi, allowing access to the whole house until you’re done. See how that goes

    • Yes lol….that is a thing. I just got an offer for a writing gig and when I mentioned my rate the convo changed.

    • Speck of Dust

      That’s like when people say “Oh wow, all that money for a website/translation?! My nephew can do it, and it’s free!” And you’re like “Well, then ask your nephew… or pay.”

      Or “Wow, all that money and you only worked for 10 minutes?” and you’re like “Yeah, but it took me years to reach this point, so PAY ME”

      • uniquebeauty79

        At that last one I couldn’t help but to think of all the years spent in school perfecting the art of coding, only for someone who doesn’t understand ANY of it to question the fact that yes you mastered it and it only takes you 10 minutes to do something they couldn’t do, even if you offered to pay them twice what you charged.

        • Speck of Dust

          Exactly. It also happens with translations, where people think you’re just “using a dictionary” and don’t understand the work and thought behind a well-made translation. And in that case I’m like “either you use Google Translate and deal with it, or pay me for the years of my life (and the money) I spent to reach this level of expertise”.

          • uniquebeauty79

            smh, I appreciate writers. I know I have never written to the level of some of the people in this thread because mine mostly has been church plays for teens…That takes work to pull ideas that will reach the ones attention you need then to KEEP it…I know I couldn’t do it for a living. KUDOS TO ALL OF YOU UNAPPRECIATED WRITES BECAUSE I APPRECIATE YOU!!!!

  • Siante

    #9 is a pet peeve of mine, I see ppl on on blogs that are so anxious to get their point across that they don’t take the time to read & gain a contextual understanding of what the writers are even saying. Even if they don’t agree, they may learn about a new perspective that may even strengthen their argument…ijs. I have to give vsb props cuz I don’t see that too much here.

    • YES. It bothers me when folks leave me a comment on my blog or about something I wrote and its clear that they didn’t even read the piece!!

      • Siante

        yay! another blog I can read at work (that’s not blocked by my company’s firewall lol)

        • lol….I hope its not blocked. PS…and don’t read the title and skip the essay and send me a longgg email lol :-)

  • Damnpops

    I’m def here for this.

  • Sawyer

    I’d just like to hear how much the thought I put into my writing goes noticed and appreciated. But #8 wouldn’t hurt either. Like, I’d probably quit my day job if #8 was a thing.

  • FarbissinaPunim

    Because writers have the type of brains I am into, I am all for #8. #somebrainforsomebrain

    • brothaskeeper

      *starts writing post-haste and forthwith*

      • FarbissinaPunim

        I’m gonna need to see a word count.

        • brothaskeeper

          It’s not the quantity, but the quality.

        • brothaskeeper

          Clicketh ye on my profile. A contact clue will present itself.

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