Advertising
Advertising

10 Misconceptions About Writers You Probably Believe

10 Misconceptions About Writers You Probably Believe

Facing misconceptions about writers started with my family. The first time I told my them I wanted to be a writer, you would have guessed from their facial expressions that I’d received a death sentence. They nodded their heads, as if trying to process some horrible shock. Their eyes said they thought I was making a terrible mistake.

Fast forward four years later, and they still think I’m making a mistake. But you know what? I have to say it’s the best mistake of my life. I’m a writer, and you better believe I love being one.

The only thing I don’t love about being a writer is the stigma that comes with it. The idea that because I’m a writer I must be an introverted, troubled, potentially mentally-ill weirdo. And that I’ll inevitably end up as A) a teacher, B) a starving artist, or C) a moocher. While those stereotypes may be true for some, they don’t apply to us all. (Though, to be honest, the weirdo part definitely applies to me.)

So before anyone continues to make assumptions about writers, they should consider this: there’s a lot more to us than the names you see in newspapers and magazines, and our writing usually tells more about us than what we’d tell you in person.

Here are 10 things people misunderstand about writers as a whole:

Advertising

1. We don’t have a social life

tumblr_inline_nd5c78I2we1rwx6hd

    People often assume that if you write and read for a living, that’s all you do in your free time, too. I think I speak for most of us when I say that’s not at all true. Of all my friends, I actually consider the ones who are writers to have the most interesting and lively social lives. I mean, how else do you think writers come up with the inspiration for all their bizarre, elaborate stories? By locking themselves in their rooms all day? Please.

    2. We exaggerate constantly

    i-wrote-you-365-letters

      Sure, we’re seen as the hopeless romantics and disturbed dreamers of the creative world. But we’ve got a trick or two up our sleeves. Writers have the gift to put power and emotion into words, but often people equate this with exaggerating for the sake of getting a point across to our readers. That’s not to say we fictionalize our thoughts and feelings, per se, but we might add a little spice to our writing from time to time to give it some intrigue.

      3. We read really really fast

      Advertising

      tumblr_m775dofxwM1rqq0c0o1_500

        Just because we write and read for a living doesn’t mean we’re all super-human readers. In fact, I’m pretty sure writers take longer to read than most. Have you ever come across a novel that’s nearly indecipherable because of the overwhelming number of highlighted passages, notes, scribbles, and bookmarked pages? If so, I’m betting the person responsible was a writer. And if not, then they should become one because no other group of people would consider destroying literature as an act of love and admiration. Joan Didion, this is my shout-out to you. The Year of Magical Thinking is now the most illegible volume on my bookshelf.

        4. We can come up with a story in no time

        tumblr_ms2esdgXeA1rjnbl0o1_500

          This ties in with the point above. It’s not like we have magic fingers, people. We don’t light-speed our way across a keyboard or zap a Pulitzer Prize-worthy story to life on our computer screens, though we wish we could. No, it takes time, lots of it. Coming up with a story takes patience, planning, late nights, early mornings, and bucket loads of coffee. It’s no picnic in the park. Well, actually, I take that back. It’s like a picnic in the park until you realize there’s ants all over your food and you have to find some elaborate way to lead them away without killing them. The point is, a good story requires critical thinking. Without it, the ants win.

          5. We are not expected to make money

          harry-potter.jpg

            The main concern everyone expresses towards writers is how we all expect to make money, but let me run this thought by you: A couple years ago, a single mother on welfare decided to write a fantasy novel that eventually turned her into one of the richest women in the world today. Her name is J.K. Rowling, you might have heard of her. Through writing, she made millions. And she’s not the only one. Writers are often viewed as the underdogs of the moneymaking race, but the truth is we all have the potential to be extremely successful. It’s just that most of us put success in our craft before success in our bank accounts.

            Advertising

            6. We all want to become teachers

            tumblr_mnkwu19hVB1sr4wq2o1_250

              If I’m asked one more time if I want to teach after getting my degree in creative writing, I may flip out. Look, if I wanted to teach I would have gotten an education major. I understand that some English majors do plan on going into teaching after graduation, but it’s wrong to assume all of us wish to follow in their footsteps. Also, we don’t all want to become novelists. There are plenty of other career paths for writers besides those two positions. Just saying.

              7. We think writing is, you know, pretty OK

              tumblr_inline_n2e8juKAqF1sv8m9q

                I may often complain about my writing classes or professors. But at the end of the day, there’s no doubt in my mind I love writing. I once had a professor who told us that if we loved writing, we were doing it wrong. While I understand why he said that, I also understand that everyone’s experiences are different. In my personal opinion, you truly have to love writing in order to be a writer, in addition to accepting the fact your butt may resemble a pancake after several hours of story-making.

                8. Writing is the most relaxing job imaginable

                Advertising

                tumblr_mcpwbc419o1r8v4r8

                  A career in writing may not be as grueling or demanding as a career in medicine, but that’s not to say writers don’t experience their fair share of difficulties. Not only do we spend hours upon hours writing, rewriting, brainstorming, and usually scrapping our work, but we face loads of criticism on a day-to-day basis. Writers have to pretty much walk on virtual eggshells every time we post anything on the internet because we all know someone, somewhere, will find the misspelled word or grammatical mistakes in our writing. I could go on all day about how difficult writing is at times, but I think you already get the point. Writing is a tough business. Enough said.

                  9. We can finish our pieces whenever we want

                  tumblr_mein7rzTOn1qb1vv2o1_500

                    Believe it or not, almost all writers work on a deadline. And believe it or not, almost all of us wait until the very last second to turn our work in. It’s not that we’re lazy. Quite the opposite actually. The reason most writers wait until the deadline is because we’re perfectionists. We want our work to be spectacular, free from error, and purposeful before we send it anywhere. So naturally we procrastinate until we feel it’s ready to be submitted. And trust me, we’re fantastic at it. The story is due by 11:59 p.m., and we wait until 11:57 p.m. on that day to submit it simply because we can—and much to the annoyance of our editors. Plus, it helps to have a creative mind when you’re working under deadline. The stuff some writers can create at the last minute never ceases to amaze me.

                    10. We’re all boring nerds

                    tumblr_m6ocg2QZMA1raoyqxo1_500

                      As I said earlier, we’re the quirkiest of the quirks out there. And I’ll admit, we are. I don’t think I’ve ever gone into a creative writing workshop expecting to find the most normal group of people there, but then again I’m glad I didn’t. Though we’re a quirky bunch of creative enthusiasts, writers are some of the most awesome people you will ever meet. We may not be social butterflies and we may spend a lot of our time with our noses in books and our fingers on keyboards, but what we lack on the surface we make up for in character.

                      So before you judge a book—I mean, a writer—by the cover, consider these typical misconceptions about writers. And while we may be the underdogs of the professional world, there’s a lot more to us than meets the eye. That “more” can be found all over our blogs and Word docs.

                      Featured photo credit: typewriter/Lívia Cristina L. C. via flic.kr

                      More by this author

                      You Should Never Say These Six Things If You Want To Be Successful At Work The Power And Pitfalls Of Complete Vulnerability 5 Ways to Prepare for Success During Your Senior Year Of College 20 Things Only Children Understand Everyone Makes Mistakes, This Is How You Can Love and Forgive Yourself

                      Trending in Communication

                      1 How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often 2 How to Fight Your Irrational Fears And Stay Strong 3 Feeling Frustrated in Life? 8 Ways to Get Back on Track 4 8 Ways to Change Your Self-Sabotaging Behaviors 5 Feeling Stuck in Life? How to Never Get Stuck Again

                      Read Next

                      Advertising
                      Advertising
                      Advertising

                      Last Updated on July 8, 2020

                      How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

                      How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

                      Do you say yes so often that you realize you aren’t really happy about this, wondering how to say no to people?

                      For years, I was a serial people pleaser. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

                      But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

                      It took a long while but I learned the art of saying no. Saying ‘no’ meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. I started to manage my time more around my own needs and interests. When that happened, I became a lot happier. And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

                      The Importance of Saying No

                      When you learn the art of saying ‘no,’ you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

                      In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

                      Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey considered one of the most successful women in the world confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything. It was only when she realized that after years of struggling with saying no, I finally got to this question: “What do I want?”

                      Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

                      Advertising

                      Warren Buffett views no as essential to his success. He said,

                      “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

                      When I made ‘no’ a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

                      How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

                      It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say ‘no.’

                      From an early age, we are conditioned to say ‘yes.’ We said yes probably hundreds of time in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work. We said yes get a promotion. We said yes to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

                      We say yes because it feels better to help someone. We say yes because it can seem like the right thing to do. We say yes because we think that is key to success. And we say yes because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist like the boss.

                      And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves. At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we feel guilty we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

                      The message no matter where we turn is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

                      Advertising

                      How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty

                      Deciding to add the word ‘no’ to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say ‘no’ but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of ‘no’ that you could finally create more time for things you care about. But let’s be honest, using the word ‘no’ doesn’t come easily for many people.

                      The 3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

                      1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

                      Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time especially you haven’t done it much in the past will feel awkward.

                      2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

                      Remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it, who else knows about all of the demands on your time? No one. Only you are at the center of all of these requests. are the only one that understands what time you really have.

                      3. Saying ‘No’ Means Saying ‘Yes’ to Something That Matters

                      When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

                      6 Ways to Start Saying No

                      Incorporating that little word ‘no’ into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

                      1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

                      One of the biggest challenges to saying ‘no’ is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no reflect poorly on you?

                      Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

                      2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

                      Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because FOMO even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

                      Advertising

                      Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better.

                      3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say ‘No’

                      Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say ‘yes’ because we worry about how others will respond or the consequences of saying no or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose respect from others. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

                      Keep in mind that saying ‘no’ can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way. You might disappoint someone initially but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to.

                      4. When the Request Comes In, Sit on It

                      Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

                      Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time, or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say ‘no.’ There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

                      5. Communicate Your ‘No’ with Transparency and Kindness

                      When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

                      Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

                      A clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

                      Advertising

                      6. Consider How to Use a Modified ‘No’

                      If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” giving you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

                      Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

                      Final Thoughts

                      Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

                      Use the request as a fresh request to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself. If you are the one placing the demand on yourself, try to evaluate the demand as if it were coming from somewhere else.

                      Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project but not by working all weekend. Or, tell someone in your family you can’t loan them money again because they never paid you back the last time. You’ll find yourself much happier.

                      More Self-Care Tips

                      Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

                      Read Next