There are so many tales about writers and their wacky habits. There’s the story about mystery writer Agatha Christie eating apples while in the bathtub and examining murder photos. Then, there is Dan Brown (The Da Vinci Code) who cures writer’s block by hanging upside down. We’re not all grumpy, disheveled, cat loving hermits. I am, but most writers aren’t.
Here are three stereotypes about writers that I wish would fade away.
The Self-destructive addict: The cliché is that great writers abuse alcohol and/or drugs as they binge write their magnum opuses in their writing caves. Doing drugs and drinking won’t help anyone be a better accountant or graphic designer so why would it help writers—or musicians, or any creative types? Boxed wine may be a hit a parties, but it isn’t a muse. No one needs drugs and alcohol to be creative. This form of self-medication for anxiety and depression will only lead to the slow decline of talent.
The vengeful and/or self-involved writer: This is the belief that if a writer hates someone, they will cast that person as a villain in their books. Or, the protagonist in a story is actually an idealized version of the writer. While this is often joked about, it isn’t true. Space in my books is valuable real estate. I wouldn’t waste it on casting people I dislike in them and I doubt other writers do. While there are Mary Sue and Gary Stu characters in many works of fiction, most authors don’t see themselves as their characters.
The rich and famous writer: We’re all not J.K. Rowling, Nora Roberts, or Danielle Steel. Publishing a book will not make you rich. It won’t even make you middle class. It takes tremendous luck and perseverance to get to the top of the publishing wealth ladder. Most authors don’t make a lot of money from book sales alone.
What stereotypes about writers do you wish would die already?
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