I admit that I don’t know what you people all do in your jobs either, so feel free to post your misconceptions about your nurse/dentist/accountant position in the comments!
Here are the top misconceptions about authors:
- They all sit in their PJs all day–yeah, this happens. But you do it too, right? Oh. Wait, technically these are yoga pants, not pajamas. See? I’m working out at my desk! My hair’s even in a ponytail.
2. We can call in the middle of the day to talk for two hours because she isn’t working–Hi, Mom. No, I’m not busy…I’m just working. Go ahead and tell me about your dinner last night. I’m not actually distracted right now. No, I’m not painting my toenails. Really–Bo’s dead? I haven’t seen that episode of Days, Mom. Was it good?
3. They earn squillions of dollars a year on their books–I once had a post office worker say well if you’re an author, then you must be rich. I just blinked at him and wondered if I should tell him that I’d spent more on promotion that year than I’d actually earned.
There’s a reason Lovecraft, Melville, Poe and Wilde died poor. It wasn’t because their investments went sour. The average author brings in less than $400 a month on writing income. Those who are lucky enough to pull in more are very grateful, believe me!
4. All writers do is write–My kids say all you ever do is type! True, my fingers are never still, but nobody can continually generate word count for eight hours a day let alone for the longer work days most of us put in. In between, we’re marketing, editing, dreaming up ways to promote our books and brands, Tweeting, searching for contacts who will help boost our careers into the stratosphere and trying not to read any crappy reviews.
5. Writers think they’re better–As a general rule, I never, ever tell people what I do. I cannot tell you how many bitchy looks I get or eye rolls. Suuuurrrrre, Em! Last week I flew to Paris to model too!
Writing is the best gig in the world, but yes, it’s a real job. And like real jobs, it has less glamorous moments. Like when your computer crashes and you’re cussing like a trucker. And I don’t think I’m better than you–AT ALL. This is what talent God gave me, just as you have patience with kids you teach or a steady hand to stitch up a wound.
It’s insane that I’d avoiding shouting out something I’m so proud of just to make the PTA moms more comfortable with their hangups, but there you have it.
6. Writers are alcoholic, depressive night owls–That’s like saying all waitresses are gum-popping, perky morning people.
Okay, I’ll agree with the night owl part, but I’ve been avoiding the sunlight since I was a newborn. A friend of mine says he writes his grittiest, best stuff when going through a dark time. Some people say to write drunk and edit sober, but I’ve professionally edited some of that crap, and I don’t recommend the strategy.
7. If you piss off a writer, she’ll kill you off in her next book.
Oh wait, that’s true.
Now you know the facts. I’d love to hear some of the strange and funny myths about your careers!