10 Incorrect Assumptions About Writers

Let’s face it, we writers have built something of a reputation for ourselves. I won’t deny my own…unique characteristics, and I know you lot are in the same boat. But that doesn’t mean everything non-writers think about us is necessarily true. In fact, here are some common misconceptions people tend to have about writers that are usually false:

#1 Writers depend on inspiration

In this scenario, I define inspiration as the strong urge to write (as opposed to inspiration from a specific place or person). While inspiration is helpful, serious writers discipline themselves to write regardless of whether or not they’re inspired at the time.

#2 Writing is just a hobby

For a lot of people, it is. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. But people don’t seem to realize that writing can also be a vocation, a life-ambition, and even a full career.

#3 Writers don’t enjoy other people

I don’t think this is the case at all. Sure, we often seclude ourselves to work, and a lot of us are strong introverts. But we still need people. We need friends and loved ones just as much as the next guy.

#4 Anyone can be a writer

False. Not everyone can be a writer. Sure, anyone can pick up a pen and write a two-page story. Pretty much everyone I know has started a novel at some point. But it’s the stubborn dedication to finish that novel that sets apart the writers from the casual dabblers.

#5 Writers only write when they have time

While it’s true that most writers have day jobs and other responsibilities competing for their time, anyone who is serious about their craft will actively carve out time, even in little amounts here and there, to set aside for writing.

#6 Writers are always looking for input

Sorry guys, but writers don’t necessarily need suggestions about their next plot twist or character creation. Of course, we’ll occasionally ask for help (normally from other writers), but for the most part we don’t need to be told what to write about next.

#7 Writers are always depressed

I’m honestly not sure where this belief originated. It’s just not true. Most of the writers I know are the happiest people alive. Granted, maybe we tend to experience emotions more intensely than some others (I’m sure there’s a whole science behind that possibility), but that doesn’t mean we’re always depressed.

#8 Writers base characters on their friends

This one is partially true, because a lot of writers take personality traits from friends or family members and incorporate them into their characters. But it’s false to think every character in a book is a carbon copy of one of the author’s friends.

#9 Writers base the protagonist on themselves

Similarly to the last point, writers don’t actually make themselves the protagonist all the time. As a matter of fact, I’d say we’re trying very hard not to do so. I don’t quite get why so many people ask me “so are you the main character?” when they read my book. Honestly, we’re not even that similar (I hope).

#10 Writers can’t make money

I’ve talked about this before. When I tell people I’m a writer/author, they automatically say something like “oh, but it’s so hard to make a living doing that. What’s your real job?” And while I understand the sentiment, and they’re not technically wrong, I would like to remind everyone that with a lot of hard work and a bit of luck, it is actually possible to earn a basic living writing books.


What assumptions have people made about you when they find out you’re a writer? Are some of them true? Or are you drastically misunderstood? Let me know in the comments below. In the meanwhile, have a great day!

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17 thoughts on “10 Incorrect Assumptions About Writers

  1. Well said! These are all great points. I’ve been writing for quite a few years now, but have only been exploring self-publishing for the past two years or so. It’s a steep learning curve, but having control over so much of the process is both exciting and also a bit scary! Completing a novella has helped me a lot, but writing a full length novel is a different in that there are more characters and more timelines to keep track of. Not to mention remembering the layout of cities and orientation of the map according to locations of characters! 😀

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  2. Some great points here, and even some points we writers need to remind ourselves of! I’ve often fallen for the “Writers only write when they have time” trap, but I’m learning to not let that be the case.

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  3. Wonderful list! For me, when I tell people I’m a writer, they just assume it’s a hobby. When I tell them I want to get a full-time writing job and publish a story, they say comments like, “Well, don’t forget your day job.” > < It can be annoying at times, especially because my day job is the vain in my extensive and I can’t wait to leave it. I feel like people don’t take me seriously when I say writing is more than a hobby, it’s my way of life.

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  4. If someone tries to put there input near my book I’ll squash it. Now, I’m off for another fun day of depressedly waiting for inspiration to hit so I can write myself and friends into a book in my spare time.

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  5. Very accurate. I’m guessing all the strange assumptions come from the fact that all true writers have a lot in common– reclusive habits, lots of time alone, similar struggles, etc. I definitely get weird looks when I say that I’m writing and editing for experience instead of doing college. People just don’t know how to handle the young person initiative. But they usually come around mid-convo and then say “Well, good for you!” You’d think I’d be used to it by now 🙂

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  6. The ‘Writers don’t enjoy people’ and the ‘Writers are always depressed’ stereotypes bother me. Sure, I seem very irritated to be around people in public but that’s because of how people have treated me in the past (the very recent past that is) and now. It’s not that I don’t like people, I do like people. It’s just hard for me to make friends with people who are too different from me and aren’t very nice.

    Sure, I’m depressed but that’s because of said reasons above.

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  7. Good list.
    I think everybody has a story in them and everybody ‘could’ be a writer but most people won’t be as it takes hours, days, weeks, months and even years to master the craft.
    I still haven’t quite mastered the making money bit but I’m getting there.

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