Myths About Writers

By Megan Burkhart, a professional writing student at Taylor University

Myths are fun to debunk. If we’re honest with ourselves, we tend to generalize people, professions, and a host of other things. Writers are not excluded. In fact, I think writers are a mystery to most people. We enjoy putting thoughts and ideas down on paper, something many people would cringe at doing.

Writing is hard, which is why not everybody does it. Here are some misconceptions about writers that are re-used, over-used, and should not be recycled.

Myth #1: Writers are crazy.

Yes, we do hear voices in our heads, but that does not make us crazy. These voices are our characters, and we need to be able to hear and see them for the reader to connect with them. Life on the page is first born in the writer’s head. When you open a book to the first page, you are stepping inside the writer’s head and sharing in his unseen world and imagination for a little while. As Gore Vidal said, “Each writer is born with a repertory company in his head.”

Myth #2: Writers are lonely.

sadpugWe may sit in front of computer screens for hours at a time, but that doesn’t mean we’re lonely. Many writers will tell you they are introverted, so time alone is actually a luxury. Though you may view this as reclusive, it’s really nothing personal against you. We just need time to think, observe, and process life and our stories. Those hours of solitude mean blissful productivity for us–or distraction (whichever comes first).

Myth #3: Writers are arrogant.

Hey, writing a 50,000 word novel is quite an accomplishment, and that word count is at the lower end of typical novel length. Sorry if we get a little braggy and excited about our work. Sometimes it takes us years to complete one manuscript–so cut us some slack. However, there should always be some humility in the process. As Ernest Hemingway said, “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”

What other myths have you heard about writers? I’d love to see some of them in the comments!

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