Thursday, June 06, 2013
Ten Common Misconceptions about Writers
By OFW editor: Renée Miller
Published: February 24, 2013

There seems to be a considerable number of assumptions made about writers, and about writing in general. Sometimes it’s amusing when one hears these things, other times…kind of annoying. To avoid the disappointment experienced by new writers when they see the reality of the writing life, let's clear up some common misconceptions.
1. Writers are exceptionally smart.
Pfft! Not really. Sure we know lots of stuff, but that’s because of a little thing called research. We tend to forget a lot of what we learn because we have so much jammed into our average-sized brains. I can quote a lot of useless facts, but if asked to explain, it’s sketchy. Writers Google a lot to find the thingies that do that thing with the whatnot, so you can see those things, when you go there.
2. Anyone can be a writer.
Everyone’s got a book in them. They just need to write it. Well, yes and no. Everyone does have the potential to be a writer. It’s not a magical gift bestowed on just the unlucky few. However, not everyone can or should be a writer. To be publishable you require two little things called passion and ambition. In other words, you have to want it bad enough to work for it.
3. Writers make tons of cash.
Yeah, um…no.
4. Writers are eccentric and sexy in a nerdy, crazy, in need of medication but too insane to know it way.
Some of us barely get dressed before noon. When we get writing time, because most of us have day jobs, we usually work several hours before we realize we haven’t showered, or brushed our hair or teeth. How’s that for sexy? As for crazy sexy? Sure we are. Sure.
5. Writers are born with talent, it can’t be learned.
Perhaps in a few rare cases talent is present at birth. There are no studies that prove or disprove this, but in most cases, talent won’t take you far. Stephen King once said, “Talent is cheaper than table salt…” and he’s right. You still have to learn the basics.
6. A good writer will become famous.
 Yes, most often after they’re dead.

7. Real writers are those who have published.
For some of us, the real measure of our writerly worth is in publication. Those that believe that publication means you're a real writer are also retarded. Publication does not a writer make. We all know that.
8. Writers lead glamorous lives.
Wrestling with complicated subplots while scrubbing the toilets, figuring out that we haven’t changed our socks in three days…and we push it to four because, who’s gonna notice? Shaving? What’s that? Something we do so that the boss doesn’t mistake us for some homeless guy and kick us out of the office? Spending our day job hours dreaming of the fraction of time we’ll get to write in the wee hours before morning…ah, glamorous. Mostly writing is a thankless endeavor that reaps loads of soul-shattering rejection and very little cash or glamour.
9. Writing isn’t a real job.
No, because real jobs pay real money.
10. All writers are introverts.
Not anymore.

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Veronica Sicoe  
Friday, 24 Feb 2012 01:41 AM  

Great list!
I'd also add a number 11, if I may:

11. Writers have read every book out there.
Just because you're a writer doesn't mean you've read everything there is to be read, that's humanly impossible. It also doesn't mean you have to act as if you've read it all to be considered well read and worthy to call yourself a writer.

Note to avid readers poking random writers in the back alleys of the internet: just because you love it, doesn't mean everyone has heard of it.


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Renee Miller  
Friday, 24 Feb 2012 11:20 AM

Good one, Veronica. I get annoyed when "non writers" are like, "I can't believe you haven't read that! You're supposed to be a writer." We're like everyone else. What appeals to some people, just isn't our cup of tea, even if it's brilliant.


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