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You don’t have to be weird to write a book

February 26, 2013

The top ten list of writers myths

1.Writers are mysterious creatures who climb the stairs to hidden attics at midnight and bang out their magnum opuses on old Remington typewriters.

2. Writers are creative geniuses who wait for the muse to come to them every day before they can begin writing.

3. Writers are all alcoholics or drug addicts.

4. Writers are crazy.

5. Writers suffer for their art, sacrificing family, boyfriends and girlfriends, even jobs in pursuit of their book.

6. Writers are penniless, miserable people who live in one-room, cold flat dwellings.

7. Writers are highly intelligent, Ivy-League educated people who scorned all that book-learning to become authors.

8. Writers have been through countless marriages or love affairs.

9. Writers must lead interesting, colorful lives of adventure, even danger, before even thinking about starting a book.

10. Writers are not like you and me and only the chosen few can write books.

You could probably add to this list too. The writer stereotype has been with us for longer than most of us can fathom.

Books and Hollywood, of course, have perpetuated the myth. And yet, it’s out there. Sure, there have been writers who have suffered for their art, turned to drink or drugs, and were, in essence, miserable human beings.

Mommy don’t let your sons grow up to be writers. Let ‘em be doctors and lawyers and such. Hey. Maybe you don’t want to be a writer because of those negative stereotypes that have hounded writers for so long.

Of course, if the writing bug has been eating away at you, you’ll probably write anyway. Maybe you will die for your art, renounce the cozy, suburban lifestyle and job and become a miserable writer who struggles just to pay the rent for that crumby apartment in a crime-ridden neighborhood.

But you know, you don’t have to give up your life to be a writer. Don’t think you have to be nuts or a drug addict or live in some anti-social, reckless manner to be a writer. Be yourself. Write the book you were meant to write. Everyone has something to say, not just the people who have lived on the dark side. 




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  1. Reblogged this on DLFwriting and commented:
    Good stuff here.

  2. Great post. It’s funny how many people believe 5 & 6. I’ve met people who talked about dissuading their child from being an ‘artist’ as if they rescued the kid from a satanic cult.

    • They mean well, but … dissuading your child from anything often has an equal and opposite effect.

      • I guess they do. It still makes me cringe because I couldn’t imagine being a kid without an imagination to guide me.

      • Tell me about it.

  3. Gwen permalink

    I love this!

    • Of course, there are writers who do fall into some, if not almost all of these stereotypes.

  4. Great Job!

  5. That is the most depressing list of myths I have ever come across. Thank God for my library, my garden and my shoe collection … else I might just have quit the writing game altogether. 🙂 Thank you for this! It’s worth passing along to my mother …

  6. HAHA I had a great time with this piece, mainly because they put so many images in your head. It reminded me of those photos that are circulating around the web “What my friends think I do: picture. What my mom thinks I do: picture What society thinks I do: picture. What I actually do: picture.)
    It’s funny because I feel like all of these stereotypes come from generations before ourselves, yet they linger, and it makes you wonder why they linger and/or the new generation of writers will be when formed into a stereotypes.
    Very good piece here,
    Thank you.

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