Misconceptions about Authors


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:

  1. 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!


7 comments on “Misconceptions about Authors

  1. I work at a gas station/convenience store on third shift. I am forever hearing , “Must be nice to just stand around all night with nothing to do” and “wow your job is so easy a trained monkey could do it” and my most favorite, “you call this a job, man I feel sorry for you”.

    Well, let me tell you, my job is anything but easy or boring. My job consists of two main parts, Register and Food. Third shift Register is responsible for (obviously) running the register for payments, authorizing gas sales, checking in vendors (yes, some do come in the middle of the night), restocking drink stations, cleaning (sweep, mop, garbages, bathrooms, outside lot, eating area), restocking the inside cooler (milk, pop, eggs, etc) and the outside coolers (gatoraide, water, energy drinks, etc), checking for and accounting for outdated merchandise, back stock, blocking and facing the store, cigarettes and all other tobacco products; and most of that must be done within the first 4 hours of work because customers begin streaming in around 4am in a steady / busy manner, and completed while waiting on customers that come in throughout the night (some intoxicated), and last but not least the drawer you used must be counted down, reports printed and turned in (oh, and making coffee 6 pots at all times starting at 4am). Oh, and after 530 am lottery as well.

    Food on third is pure crazy. That shift is 10-6. Grab n Go subs and sandwiches have to be made and put in cooler along with eggs, meat and cheese cups and deli, pizzas must be pulled, panned, dated, and put in cooler along with the bread (which usually has to be proofed and baked on third as well), there is a freezer pull to replace what the first two shifts used and in anticipation of what they may need, making and dating meat and cheese packs for the next day as well as throwing away (after weighing and writing off) outdated packs, all bottles of dressing checked, made, dated and check outdated, premade different sandwiches for first shift, flip and fill the hot foods, pizza station and sub station, clean slicer as well as cut deli for customers, stock all non food items like utensils, baking sheets, etc, wash and sanitize all dishes, knives, slicer, counters and food warmers. All of this while making food for customers (and it can get busy between 10-2) and permalink and putting in warmer 6 of each breakfast sandwich by 5 am.

    No matter which position you’re in you inevitably deal with irate, upset, and sometimes down right rude customers with whom you just hold your smile and do everything you can to calm and correct the situation. A trained monkey would be throwing things, trust me.

    And as for the Job comment, well that one just upsets me. First of all, I have a job. That’s a much needed thing these days. So score 1 for me. Second, I would bet my last dollar that it never occurrs to those that ‘pity’ me that there are reasons I do what I do. I don’t have reliable transportation so working away from isnt an option. I have major health/physical conditions that make working other places next to impossible. And most importantly, I have to feed my family and so if that required shoveling manure with my bare hands I’d do it.

    My job is physically demanding (lifting and moving stock constantly), mentally challenging (you try smiling and being pleasant when you’re in pain or being screamed at on a consistent basis), and socially intriguing (you meet and talk to such a diverse group of people) ; I would love the commentators to try it someday so they can see how ‘easy’ it isn’t.

  2. One common misconception I get all the time is that my sex life must be amazing to write romance. I just laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh… Because what else am I gonna do?

  3. I substitute teach and most people think all I do is babysit. Nope, I have lesson plans that I have to follow. Attendance to be taken, lunch room duty to be had, making sure that the kids don’t get hurt during recess, and trying to do this in one day. Teachers are saints and aren’t paid enough.

    Plus, since I sub in all grades, I have to have a basic knowledge of every school subject there is. Well, maybe not high school math or science but in the lower grades I’m well versed.

    Subbing is something that I love and I’m good at it. Nothing brings a smile to my face than being somewhere a kid is introducing me to his parents because I subbed in their classroom and they liked me. *SMH* Still trying to figure out why they like me. 😉


  4. since i am disabled and don’t work at a 8-5 job anymore, people think i do nothing all day except lay around & eat bon bons or that i have ALL the time in the world to do stuff for them. they also say things as if i never worked 40 or more hours in a week, or raised 4 kids as a single parent (sick/or not sick).

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