10 More Incorrect Assumptions About Writers

This post is a somewhat snarky continuation of last month’s 10 Incorrect Assumptions About Writers article.

#11 Writers don’t actually work that much

Grab a notebook and a pencil and people admire your dedication. Crack open a laptop and everyone assumes you’re playing games. Granted, all the Netflix jokes we make don’t help our case, but still. We writers take our work pretty seriously.

I’ve had people watch me type away for a bit and then say something like, “So…is that work stuff, or are you just goofing off?” I know they’re probably joking, but how would it look if I walked up to a busy firefighter and said, “So…are you putting that out, or just toasting marshmallows?”

#12 Writers are always available for language-related favors

I think every writer in existence has experienced this at least once. Your classmates need a paper proofread, and it’s due in an hour, and you’re not busy so you can do it for free, right? Well…no. Not right. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind lending a hand (and I did all throughout college). I’ll be glad to look over your paper. If I can do it when it fits my schedule, and if it’s only a few pages, and if I don’t have paying work to finish first. Because, believe it or not, I do occasionally get paid to do just that. Wait in line.

#13 Writers need English and/or Creative Writing degrees

Did I take creative writing classes in college? Yes. Did I graduate with a degree in English? Yes. Did it revolutionize the way I write fiction? No. Most of what I’ve learned about writing has been through my own writing and reading. I know of writers who got all the degrees and drastically improved because of them, but degrees don’t grant you innate skill, nor do they guarantee success.

[Note: my classes, teachers, and studies were fantastic. I’m not degrading any of them. I did learn stuff about literature, grammar, history, etc (go to college, kids!). But I didn’t learn anything about creating a story from nothing and putting it into writing that I didn’t already know (or would come to know in the future) from experience and self-teaching.]

#14 Writers always stay indoors

We stay inside a lot because that’s where our work is, and we love our work. But that doesn’t mean we’ll burst into flames if we walk out the front door (well, most of us won’t). Writers love walks, nature, cities, fresh air, sunshine/rain as much as anyone else (Pokemon Go, anyone?). If anything we wish we could be out more, but, you know, laptops have a limited battery life.

#15 Writers lack social skills

Again, we joke about this a lot. But most of the time it’s just not true. A lot of writers are introverts, and a lot of introverts are shy (there is a difference, people), but we can still go out, smile, shake hands, meet people, converse, and interact with society when we want to. Maybe we just tend to want to a little less than others.

#16 Writers hate editing

Editing, the great evil torture process that stifles creativity and drags writers down into the mire of technicalities. Actually, there’s just as much creativity in rewrites and edits as there is in first draft writing. I know a lot of writers (myself included) who enjoy the second and third draft process just as much as the first draft. Now, proofreading? That’s a different story…

#17 Writers want to be just like famous authors

“Oh, you write fantasy? So you wanna be the next Tolkien/Rowling/Martin, I guess.”

No, actually, I don’t. Tolkien, Rowling, and Martin were/are talented, successful authors that a lot of people look up to. But Tolkien gets boring, Rowling spams plot holes, and Martin needs to get his moral compass checked for signs of life (my opinions, calm down).

My point is, I don’t want to be them, or even like them. I want to achieve what they achieved, yes, but in my own way, with my own voice, and my own stories.

#18 Writers disregard basic and routine activities

“You’re a writer, huh? Must be nice to work from home. You don’t have to get up early, shower, or follow meal schedules like the rest of us. You don’t even have to get dressed if you don’t want.”

Bottom line: that’s a bunch of garbage. We work hard. Most of us have other jobs. We follow routines. We have self-respect and a sense of hygiene.

Writer does not mean slob.

#19 Writers need to work with major publishers

Would I love to have one of my books eventually published by one of the big names? Of course. Are my career as a writer and my love for storytelling defined by that factor? Absolutely not. Mainstream publishing houses have competition in the form of indie-publishers, self-publishing, etc. I don’t need a six-figure deal to be a good writer.

If anyone’s reading this that wants to offer me a six-figure deal, I graciously accept. 

#20 Writers thrive in coffee shops

This is true for some writers, but not for all. I’m jealous of the people who a.) have access to coffee shops nearby, and b.) look super sophisticated with their million dollar Apple devices while still getting chapters done by the refill.

I’m not that guy. For instance, I’ve been into Starbucks three times in my life. Once as part of a group. I didn’t order anything. The second time was in February in Chicago. I panicked and ordered a slushy. The third time, I tried to order coffee. Emphasis on tried. Turns out you need a degree in Latin just to get a napkin in that hipster nest.

Starbucks is the worst. That’s really all I’m getting at in this whole post.


Take this post with a grain of salt and a pinch of humor. If you’re guilty of making any of these assumptions, ultimate shame on you. Now, you’ll have to excuse me. It’s almost 2:00 in the afternoon. Time for me to get dressed.

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11 thoughts on “10 More Incorrect Assumptions About Writers

  1. YES THIS IS BRILLIANT
    .
    I have to admit, I am not fond of editing. Yet. I’ve been told it’s an acquired taste and I’m working on acquiring it…

    Number 20, though. Oh 20. So, I’ve been into a Starbucks maybe one more time than you have and never to write. While I would love to be in a coffee shop and write and look artistic, I think the Wi-Fi would be too tempting. Wi-Fi is basically the kryptonite of my writing existence and as soon as it’s on, I’m not getting much done without some serious self control or word sprints. (I think I may have just proved Number 11 on this list… 😛 )

    Like

  2. #12 – I’m Bulgarian so when someone from my family needs something translated to/from English, they ask me to do it. I don’t mind, except that it’s always urgent and sometimes they want me to translate something long… Very, very long… In a day or two. And when I say that I have writing to do, they go “But do you *have to* write right now? Surely you can postpone it.”

    No. I can’t. I work on a schedule. I post online and my readers expect my posts on certain days. Family or not, the very long and often boring thing I’m translating for you for free is not my priority.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post. So many good points about us writers. #13 jumped out at me the most. I’ve been to school for screenplay writing, but most of what I write comes from just having a feel about what I’m writing. Sometimes I think school can be more of a problem than a help. It kind of forces you to be like all the others and stifles your creative juices.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. #16 – I’m with you, I actually don’t mind editing. Sure, it gets tedious after a while, but I enjoy looking at my writing and analyzing what works and what doesn’t. It still involves creativity, just a different sort.

    And #20… I don’t really care for Starbucks either. I can’t stand the taste of coffee, reading their menu is like trying to decode hieroglyphics, and their prices are insane. If I need to get out of the house to write, I usually go to the library (It’s free!) or a laptop-friendly restaurant like Panera or Chik-Fil-A (because milkshakes).

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Writers are definitely not lazy! (I’m definitely the type who writes by hand but now I have a laptop, I might start to transition, we’ll see).

    Thriving in a coffee shop? Nah, I prefer the comfort of my own home xD

    Like

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