10 Myths About Writers

There is an abundance of myths about writers. Some have a grain of truth and others are wildly off base, but all have a big impact on how we put pen to paper.

Let’s bust the most common misconceptions we see and get to the bottom of what makes a writer a writer!

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Myth #1

You have to be published and sell a million copies to ‘count’ as a writer

While no-one may say this out loud, it’s the feeling that many writers get when they share the news of their manuscript with people. They may get questions like ‘how many copies have you sold?’, ‘are you published’ or even the dreaded ‘have I read anything you’ve written?’.

What makes you a writer is the fact that you write. That’s it!

Myth #2

Writers make lots of money

We wish this wasn’t a myth, but the reality is that writing isn’t a lucrative industry for 99% of the people in it. Some writers get 6 figure advances and earn thousands in royalties, but these writers are few and far between.

Times are changing which could see writers earn a lot more from royalties and advances, so we hope this myth doesn’t stay a myth for long!

Myth #3

If you’re good at it, writing is easy

Anyone who says this has clearly never met an old friend called Writer’s Block

Every writer will struggle at some point in their journey. You may take months to come up with a new idea, lose the ending or even get 50k words in before you realise it’s all wrong.

There’s no shame in saying that writing isn’t easy. Sharing your struggles is what gives other writers the chance to offer advice and guidance, so don’t hide it if you’re finding it rough. Just don’t give up!

Myth #4

Only bad writers need to be edited

This myth comes from the perception that editing is just about finding spelling mistakes and checking grammar. Chances are that any writers who do believe this myth are the ones that need editing most of all. 

The truth is that editing is about fixing plot holes, strengthening characters, tightening dialogue and delving deep into how a manuscript can be even better.  

Every writer wants to make their creation shine. It’s a tough process, but editing is the only real way that can happen.

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Myth #5

Writers are always full of story ideas

Story ideas are all around, but they’re not always in writer’s heads.

There are some lucky few who don’t have to search far to find their next story. For the most part, finding an idea is about trial and error, and taking a draft apart when you realise that the idea isn’t working after all.

If you struggle to pinpoint an idea to write about, don’t worry. The fact is that not every idea is worthy of a full story and will need some vigorous interrogation before pen is put to paper. Quality is better than quantity.

Myth #6

Publishers, agents and other writers are out to steal your stuff

Of all the myths about writers we see, this one is probably the most damaging. Why? Because it warps the perception of the writing community, feeds into creative paranoia, and most importantly, means that a potentially great story never gets read.

Agents have nothing to gain from stealing your work and honestly, publishers don’t have enough time! Every writer is in the same boat, so if you’re worried about another writer stealing your work, just remember that no-one can read anything without your permission.

As soon as you write something, the copyright is yours. Keep original drafts for peace of mind and trust your writing community.

Myth #7

Writing is a relaxing hobby

There is a grain of truth to this one. But, if you’ve ever met a writer who’s just found a plot hole they need to fix, “relaxing” probably isn’t a word they’d use. 

This isn’t to say that some writers don’t use their craft to relax, or that others use it as hobby, and it’s also not to say that writing should be stressful.

But the truth is that there are lots of different reasons why people write and what they get out of it. Pigeonholing all writers by one criteria is alienating for people who don’t fit it. 

Myth #8

Publishers are looking for talent alone

This is one of the trickier myths about writers because it’s both true and false. Some publishers are on the hunt for a fresh new voice and it’s true that talent is visible to trained eyes.

However, publishers are also looking for marketable works of fiction in a saturated industry. They may love your work and just not have room in their workload. Or, they may see the potential, but there’s just too much work to be done on your manuscript to take the risk.

Publishers are also for looking at the writer. A manuscript can be the most polished, brilliant work they’ve ever read… but if the writer is difficult to work with, rude or demanding, talent can only go so far.

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Myth #9

Breaking the rules make you stand out

You’ll definitely stand out, but not in the way that you want…

To break the rules, you’ve got to show that you know the rules. The rules don’t exist to restrict creativity, but to channel it in a way that can be understood by an audience. Very few people will read your story if the plot, dialogue and character development don’t make sense. If a reader doesn’t know what’s happening, they won’t read on. It’s as simple as that.

Myth #10

Anyone can be a writer

There is some truth here, but we’d like to make an adjustment to this myth:

Anyone can be a writer if they’re willing to work hard and not give up. 

Everyone can be a writer, but creating stories takes time, effort and lots of hard work… but the payoff is phenomenal. Thankfully, we’ve got some incredible writing courses for every interest to help you along the way!

Are there any myths about writers you’d like to see debunked? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter!

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