- They are lazy. Someone who dedicates themselves to the craft spends 6-10 hours a day for months in a row brewing the perfect blend of empathy, sympathy, character, situation, and circumstance just to redraft a story or novel five to and infinite amount of times is hardly lazy.
- They have no other talent. From the mainstream fiction novelist to the literary brainiac - many writers do more than write. Writing requires an author to not only write about life, but also experience it. Fiction draws from information we already know, which could not exist with some life experience.
- They all suck. If anyone believed this, there would be no names on eBooks and print publications.
But no stereotype is more promient than the depressed, starving, and struggling artist.
Twenty-odd years ago, it was possible to live off of writing. We all the know the names of authors who made it big with their books and held onto a publisher like many people do with a steady career. Unlike these career holders, however, writers don't often switch ambitions, which may the very reason writing is so daunting. There's a point when you know you're committed to the craft forever.
And as for making it big, in this age of informational clusters, almost everyone considers themselves a writer, and for that very reason, breaking into the industry is equally, if not even more so, difficult.
What's different now, is your entrance to the professional writing world does not guarantee longevity. One book doesn't mean two, and so on. Is it any coincidence there are so many authors betting their chips on a series or one high concept? Probably not. It's fluff the bank or spend even more endless nights at the desk with a blank page and a bowl of ramen.
But does all the aforementioned mean the writer is suffering? Like any other life-long goal, it's frustrating, it's tiring, and it takes every last bit of energy you have.
For a writer, days can be longer or shorter (and just because you write doesn't mean you'll be read; there's much "business" to be attended to), you're already at home, and sometimes you can't sleep until that big idea is down on paper. And then there are revisions.
Again, are writers suffering?
Which leads to the writer's view of themselves. For decades now, and possibly due to Woody Allen movies, writers see themselves as these entities far beyond the comprehension of the average human being:
- Only a writer can understand a writer. I'm pretty sure everyone has their lows and their doubts. Publishing, for example, is a tough gig, and many fear they will never make it or fear what it might bring.
- Writing makes you some sort of revolutionary. Sure, there are a few writers who hold this title, but don't kid yourself, there are thousands of people just like you. Don't believe me, go to a writers conference.
I'm not meaning to be pretentious here in any way. But look, the first step is the most difficult in any pursuit of happiness, I assure you. And sometimes drinking our sorrows is not the best solution, although writers are kind of known for such a thing.
I argue we should eliminate this idea of the suffering writer.
- It'll allow open minds. This is imporant for everyone. The writer won't feel so alone if society accepts the craft as a legitimate desire. Likewise, if writers are more open-minded, they won't have to be the guy in the corner at a party.
- Optimism often leads to confidence. Writing is essential; therefore writers are needed. No matter how stories are consumed (film, television, books, comics, games, and so on) people need to encounter some form of writing. It provokes dialogue. It teaches us how to handle real-life situations. At the very least, it entertains us, and at most, it inspires. One day it will happen; you'll get the book or story published.
Writing is intangible when it's in the works. No one knows what the writer is doing until their work takes a more accessible form, which is the most discouraging part for both sides. Let writers write and keep clacking away at the keyboard. For years it has been said writing is both art and craft, but it is time we add profession or aspiration.