Writer stereotypes vary from pleasant to neutral to negative, and often people forget that, although we are indeed writers, we are still individuals. Undoubtedly, many started from popular culture; movies, books, and so on. Others were probably conceived by writers themselves, or families of writers who picked up on certain habits.
Some of the ones that I hear, and usually have to deflect, include:
Writers have cats. Now, this one I can’t personally deny as I do have one cat. But, I also have two dogs. We’re only supposed to have cats I think.
We’re addicted to coffee/tea. I do like a nice cup of tea in the mornings, but I do not need it to survive. In fact, if I miss out on it I don’t even notice. I don’t have a kettle set up next to my desk on a constant boil.
We have day jobs. When people hear “writer”, they usually think it means that we write books or that we are journalists. They forget about all of the other writing that sits in between, making them assume that we just write for fun and not for a living.
We all want to be famous. Sure, some of us do. But some of us don’t. We all have different reasons for writing, and different goals that we choose. Most of us write because it’s what we’re good at, and we’re just following wherever that path takes us.
We only write when inspiration hits. Hah. No. We write when we have to to pay the bills, to work out an issue with a story, or just because it’s comforting. Waves of inspiration are great, but those movies with writing montages are quite far from realistic.
We can write anything. Technically I suppose we can, but that doesn’t mean we’ll do it well. Some of us are really good at fiction, but not so comfortable with non-fiction. Some of us love dialogue and some of us struggle with it. Someone who can write a fantasy story might be terrible at a marketing brochure.
Writing doesn’t require an education. Sure, many many writers start from an early age. That’s true. But most who become successful still took at least a few courses in writing or editing or English at some point. Just have the desire to write doesn’t mean that you can do it well without honing your skills.
We’re broody. Yes, we all just sit around solemnly thinking to ourselves in dark rooms full of antique furniture. With our cats on our laps and ink staining our fingers. Give me a break. We’re humans. We can be broody, but no more than anyone else.
We’re mysterious. I can’t put my finger on this one, really. Are we mysterious because people don’t understand how we make a living, or are we mysterious because we are doing something that most of the world does, but better?
Aside from that, we all wear berets, we smoke a lot of cigarettes, we forget to eat, and we are devastatingly romantic. Right, guys?!
Which ones are actually true to you, and which bother you the most? Do you have any to add to the list?
I’ll be on Facebook until next time. Unless I’m too busy after I’ve downed this bottle of whiskey, two packs of smokes, and refilled my ink pot. (Kidding, just kidding).