Very nifty post over this way about irritating/silly questions writers are asked, and how to deal with them.
Some of the silly/bothersome questions include:
“What do you do?”
“What do you write?” (Sometimes followed by: “You write that?”)
“Is there any money in that?”
“Where have you been published?” (Often followed by, “Where?”)
“How’s the book coming?” (Alt: “When will you be done with that thing?”)
“Why don’t you just sit down over a weekend and just finish it?” Or, “Why don’t you just go on [popular TV show]?” (Or other “useful” advice.)
“When are you going to get a real job?” And,
“Did you hear about XYZ? She just sold her novel for a million dollars!”
To that I’d add any questions that demand specifics relating to money, the delightful “when are you going to write a real book?” once you mention you write for young people, and the all-time favourite “Would I have heard of anything you’ve written?” How on earth should anyone know what you’ve heard of, oh question-asker-person?
There’s some good advice about how to respond to these kinds of questions – it’s worth checking out.
I think most of these questions come from a place of ‘not really getting it’ – for example, people who ask how long it takes to write a book, thinking it’s a matter of sitting down and writing one draft and that’s it, off it goes to the editor. There are the questions about all the stuff that’s out of an author’s control, things for publishers and agents and bookshops and external forces to determine. Writing seems easy enough. We use words every day. But, y’know. We also move our bodies every day, but most of us aren’t professional dancers or athletes. Having read an article or interview or two doesn’t make us experts on any field. (Alas. It’d make research so much easier!)