Myths About Writers

Writers, like every other person on the planet, have a stigma about them. There are things that we all think about when we think about a writer. Most of the time they involved a white male (nothing wrong with that) sitting in front of a fire with a glass of whiskey or scotch brooding. While this Hemingway type scene is totally normal and was for a while the picture of a writer (Hi F Scott Fitzgerald. I’m talking about you), there are many stereotypes that are easily debunked in the modern age of writing and publishing.

  1. All writers are natural: Most writers go through loads of rejection before they get their first piece published. Yes you can self publish these days but to have something published, most writers and most of the books you see have been sent to dozens of desks before they are put out. Protégés are out there but they are rare. If you have read someones “First” published novel, dollars to donuts, its not the first they have written.
  2. Writers just write: Most writers, be it in books, on a blog, whatever, have a day job. Its a nine to five and it is done along with writing because even if you are published, chances are you’re not going to be making enough to live off of.
  3. Writing is a solo activity: Okay yes, writing itself is. But if you really want to get good you are probably talking to other people that you write with. The internet has made this easy and fun. Its how we learn and grow, learning from each other. Not to mention how hard it is to edit your own work. Most writers have a friend or editor that they work with.
  4. Writers write every day: Burn out is real and so is writers block. Writing can be a grueling task and sometimes you need to step back, no matter how much you love your work. The absolute worst thing that someone can say when you have writers block is “Hows that book coming”? Talk about rubbing it in.
  5. The Hermit Myth: Back to the original Hemingway myth when it comes to writing. Not all writers are in their dark corners, avoiding all human contact, pasty and allergic to sunlight. Some of us are. I myself am very social and love being out and around other people. And I dont just mean sitting in Starbucks because writing doesn’t count if no one sees you writing. You cant write if you have never experienced anything so getting out and doing is a huge part of some writers processes.
  6. Writers have a particular “Style”: Writing is an evolutionary skill. I look back at some of the things that I wrote in college and I cringe. I look back at some of the things that I wrote last year and I cringe. For example, for some reason, in my youthful writing when I look back in my notebooks, I find that I had a tendency to always write a male character that was legit mean to my heroine and they ended up falling for each other. Fuck that. People change, writing changes, themes change, vocabulary expands. Don’t feel like you need to stick with something if you evolve out of it.
  7. My Characters Are Part of Me! I Cant Control Them: Yes. Yes you can. Freeform is all fine and good in a writing exercise but never act like you characters are controlling your story. Every writers goal is a well rounded character with their own strong personalities, goals and flaws. Yes sometimes it might feel like when at three am a character does something unexpected and it comes from them. But it is always the writer and always the writer in control.
  8. Grammar and spelling are everything to a writer: I don’t know how many times I have seen some wanna be correct grammar like they are a king or queen. We all make mistakes. Sometimes we just type too fast. Sometimes we are tired. Sometimes we go to AP instead of Chicago. Guess what? It doesn’t matter. Thats what editing is for.
  9. It’s not a real story unless its unique: 7 stories. There are only seven stories that have ever been told. Yes every story has its unique characteristics and this doesn’t discredit anyone story. In fact, it’s amazing that we as a collective entity can come up with so many variations and ways to tell a story. But to be frank, it’s not the main story that makes a different. It’s what is out into it and the individual mark left on a story with tireless hours of sleepless brainstorming and work.
  10. Writers have to be special and have a hard life: You don’t have to be Nel locked in a closet to write a good story. Hopefully most writers aren’t. We all draw on our own experiences but those aren’t always dramatic or ones of strife and pain. The most human stories come from a place of truth and being able to relate to a story that is believable in some fashion is far more important than the writers background.

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