Writers are solitary creatures not used to sharing their secret inner life of fame and glamour with commoners; luckily, the following Q and A will satisfy your burning curiosity. Please refer to this list the next time you want to interrupt a writer’s peaceful musings and daydreams, also known as paralyzing self-doubt.

How's the writing going?

How's that thing where you stand in a room in front of people and argue your point? Or where you gamble with other people’s money, and sometimes lose it? Oh wait, you mean how’s my job? So glad you asked. Other than the blood that pours out of my eyeballs from squeezing every last bit of emotion onto the page just to form one cohesive and beautiful sentence that will be rejected multiple times—great, it’s going great.

Still writing?

If by “writing” you mean spending most of my time staring at a blank screen, drinking coffee or whiskey depending on the time of day, and feeling like a failure, then yes, I am still doing that. Thanks for asking.

Can you babysit my child, pick up my packages, or let the gas man in to read the meter since you are home?

What a perfect opportunity to procrastinate and help a neighbor for zero dollars. Would you like me to walk your dog and water your plants while you’re at your real job? I’ve already lost that brilliant idea I had in the shower and probably won’t have another one for at least a year, so I’m free until then. Just leave me a To-Do list.

How come you don't write for the New York Times?

Fabulous idea. That is not something any writer has ever thought about every waking moment of their pathetic writerly existence. I’ll get right on that.

Why don't you write an article on this great idea I have?

Why don’t you write an article on this not-at-all great idea that won’t sell and no one but you cares about? On second thought, your great uncle’s genital wart removal surgery is a fascinating topic for a children’s book writer like myself.

How long have you been working on that memoir?

Since about 80 years before Frodo left the Shire.

How much did you get paid for your book?

Totally appropriate question. Don’t be at all shy about asking someone how much money she made on the book she spent years toiling over. To answer your question, writers make approximately 500 iridescent dragonfly wings for their first book, and for books that do exceedingly well, meaning that someone other than their mother buys it, writers get a whopping 60,000 crocodile tears presented in a crystal vial from a secret underground spring that is guarded by vampires. Don’t bother fact-checking this; it’s well-known in the industry.

When is your essay going to be published? How come they haven't published it yet? What are you going to do about it?

The first part of this trifecta of shame is a secret even the Great Oz cannot answer. Once an essay is accepted, it goes down a long shoot into a swirling vortex, joining all the other to-be-published essays in the world, and then one day a fairy reaches in to grab the essay and sends it out into the ether where it may or may not end up on a prestigious website. Then, if you’re really lucky, someone inside the internet clicks on it and reads the first five sentences before becoming distracted by a TikToK cat video. But no worries because they will then come back to it to write a nasty comment that proves that a) they didn’t actually read it, and b) they are racist.

When are you going to get a real job and give up that silly hobby?

Blank stare. Sips coffee.

Bonus Round: Questions that writers have for editors.

Why don’t you love me?