There are so many writing stereotypes out there. For example, when most people picture a writer they imagine a poor-coffee-loving-intelligent-but-crazy-bohemian-hermit who spends their days dreaming up fantastical worlds and despicable murders. It may shock some people to learn that some writers love the sun, prefer to be outdoors, and actually, NO, they don’t know a single thing about how a computer works, but if you need help with anything Microsoft word related – well you’re in luck! (Another stereotype?? Whoops).
Here are what I think are the nine main stereotypes of writers:
1. Writers are computer whizzes – No mother, I am NOT A COMPUTER WHIZ. I’ve been slaving away on my laptop for years because I enjoy writing (and netflix), not because I like computer programs and learning how to connect a laptop to wi-fi. Please stop asking me for help because I don’t know (OK I do, but that’s beside the point).
2. Writers are poor hippie drifters – you know the image, floating through life with no real direction, living a frugal bohemian lifestyle due to lack of funds (or living off an allowance from your S.O’s income). Well this stereotype is well deserved. I think most writers ARE poor. And if they’re not they are either delusional, have a second job OR they are that 0.01% who are famous and get six figure book deals.
3. Published writers are rich & famous – I really don’t understand the ‘rich & famous’ stereotype, but it exists because most people don’t realise that while many authors can be famous, they might not actually make much money from their novels (they may even have a day job). I can’t even tell you how many friends and family have said: “oh, I bet you’ll be the next J.K.Rowling.” What are you talking about? There’s no betting in this. Yes, of course I’ll be the next J.K.
4. Writers are crazy loners – and not only that, they are depressed, overly emotional, introverted hermits who rant and rave about all the injustices in this world. There are so many reasons why this stereotype exists – and I have to say they are all good cause for alarm. For example, all you have to do is take one quick look at what fiction writers are dreaming up, and you’ll know why. Stephen King’s The Shining is a pretty good example.
5. Writer’s love to drink coffee & eat chocolate – so this point also includes drinking red wine and smoking (I couldn’t possibly have ten stereotypes in this blog post. Cats only have nine lives after all.) Personally I’m a huge fan of red wine – it conjures up an image of a moody & interesting writer with a lot on her mind. Chocolate conjures up an image of a befuddled writer avoiding writer’s block – and yes I know, some of you are tea drinkers.
6. Writers suffer writer’s block ALL THE TIME – well if we stopped complaining, maybe this stereotype wouldn’t exist. PUT THAT BLOODY PIECE OF CHOCOLATE DOWN AND WRITE. Some (smart) writer’s like to hide their writer’s block under a veil of industriousness until they can overcome said hurdle. But whether you call it laziness, boredom, fear, procrastination or an undisciplined nature, we all suffer from it from time to time.
7. Writers are night owls – ever heard how writers can stay up until 3am writing? Yes it’s true. I really can’t contest this one. And if someone says they are an ‘early riser writer’ and not a night owl… well that’s a load of bullshit. 5am is NIGHT TIME. I don’t care if you think you’re getting up an hour before the kids to get some writing in. 5am is the middle of the night.
8. Writers can write anything – my friends constantly pick me up if I even dare spell a word wrong (auto correct doesn’t exist for writers) and they expect me to be able to write anything. But no, just because I’m a fiction writer does not mean I can write any form of poetry, literary journal articles, grant proposals, reviews, advertisements or media speeches. If you want to know about the three-act structure or how to incorrectly plot a novel – I’m your girl! But if you ask me about stanzas, alliteration or haiku – well I really have no fucking clue, please don’t ask. (Looking at you Nancy, Josh, Beans & Robson).
9. Writers own cats – I’m guilty of this one. On the surface I only have one cat (which is perfectly normal), but if you count my childhood cat who is still alive, and this cat that three friends and I bought while at university… well, it means I technically own three. So yeah, this stereotype is true. And if you’re a writer who owns a dog – I salute you for shouldering this burden along with us (like when Canadians get mistaken for Americans or Kiwis get mistaken for Aussies or South Africans get mistaken for… Swedes?) If you’re a champ like me and have both a dog and a cat… how on earth do you get through all those fights?
P.s this is my last post until January, so Merry Christmas!!