I am really enjoying talking about being a writer on the blog lately and as I am on an artsy course I often find myself discussing the misconceptions and stereotypes that surround being a writer. Someone I know who is a writer said “I just want to write in fields” like that’s something that all of us writers do, but it’s simply not true. I have broke down some of my favourite misconceptions below for you all:
Flamboyance – For some reason it has become a stereotype that writers are overly eccentric and we have a tendency to be weird in comparison to everybody else. I think this is only something that people think of us because the creative lifestyle is so different from the normal working one. I can tell you now, we are all flamboyant in our own ways but being strange or odd is not always our style, sometimes we are plain boring with wild imaginations!
Alcohol – There is a theory that writers drink a lot more. I have a feeling that stereotypes like this come from films just like Secret Window with Johnny Depp where there is a lot of drinking involved. It is undeniable that a lot of writers drink, but then again doesn’t the majority of the world do the same thing? Some of my best story ideas have come from being a little tipsy however, watching how people move in nightclubs, their characters, immersing myself in the moment for creative inspiration…
Hygiene – It is thought that many writers spend hours and hours locked away in rooms and writing for days (when we’re in the moment, we do…) but this does not mean that we are all disgusting and unhygienic. I have just spent the last weekend in the Epping forest without washing but this has nothing to do with my writing career, this is simply a result of the outdoor life. We are generally clean and healthy people!
Cigarettes – A lot of writers are conceived to smoke, and although similar to the alcohol point; they do, so do many other people! Our minds are no more stimulated with a cigarette than without, it is merely a coping mechanism many writers use. I’m not too sure why considering it’s so dreadfully bad for you, but there is enjoyment.
Coffee – Due to the nature of professional writing, the endless hours spent at a computer/book/typewriter trying to finish a commission for a deadline can be hard and takes a toll on the old eyes. Coffee is a lot of people’s go-to to handle this kind of pressure but it by no means something that writers all do. I don’t even like coffee or tea which I know is bizarre considering I’m British!
Recluse – It is thought that because we spend a lot of our time working on writing for certain companies that we are always locked away and we never come out unless it’s to make that ever needed cup of coffee (apparently!) but this isn’t true either. Everyone who reads my blog on a regular basis knows that I am a party animal and I love going out with friends as well as traveling around when I have the money. Being a recluse is a bit of a thing of the past and also a rather whimsical thought in my opinion. Even films about writing see the main characters that are writers out and about all the time either trying to get commissioned for work or working two jobs just to try and make ends meet.
Broke – A lot of writers are expected to be broke. Now, although a relatively true thing for most young writers that are just heading into the industry, professional writers are by no means broke. Look at famous ones such as Stephen King and JK Rowling. They have tons of money. Of course I’m putting this on the basis that they are famous but everyone in every profession has to start somewhere before they finally start earning money. With the logic that every writer is broke because they can’t get famous is the logic that every chef is broke because they don’t own a restaurant. As for me, I’m only broke because I’m a uni student and that is massively expected!
Depression – All good writers of course have to come from terrible backgrounds or suffered tragedy in order to write a good novel or poem as otherwise they haven’t experienced enough pain to help them do so. This is a ridiculous thing and I do not believe in it at all. I have had my fair share of awful things happen and although yes, these things inspire my writing I am by no means made a better or worse writer because of it. I hate it when people say that you can’t begin to write about something you haven’t experienced because this is what research is for.
Cats – Apparently every writer has a cat and it is their best friend, spilling coffee over manuscripts and nuzzling the fountain pen we write with. Although not wrong in my situation, my cat Mr. Mason is my best writing friend, not everyone I know who is a writer even likes cats! In fact I’d say only about 40% of them do! Most people these days prefer dogs, they’re more loyal and you can spoil them more.
Please enjoy these pictures of my kitty cat:
Are some of you writers that get asked other kinds of stereotypes? What do people ask you about?