Most writers don’t start out as such. Instead, they are often insurance adjusters, school teachers, associate pastors or immersed in any number of other “ordinary” careers. And then slowly the Lord begins to shine His light upon the gift He’s given them. As the desire to be a writer grows in their hearts and minds, a mental roadblock often appears. But I’m not a writer. Writers are moody… or dysfunctional… or grammar Nazis. I’m just an electrician with 3 kids and a mortgage. I don’t fit the type. I won’t make it in the field of writing.
We are here to dismantle that roadblock and these other myths about writing that may be holding you back.
Myth No. 1: All writers hate their day jobs
Often we assume that writers spend their 9-to-5 hours trapped in a dreary cubicle, counting down the ticks of the clock until they can escape and do what they really love… write. This is a myth. Just like the successful doctor who also runs triathlons or the thriving high school teacher who plays in the community orchestra, many part-time writers are perfectly fulfilled in their primary occupations. In fact, authors frequently attribute part of their success to the inspiration and preparation that their day jobs provided. So whether you plan to make writing a career or not, we encourage you to give yourself fully to all the work you do!
Myth No. 2: Writers lead dysfunctional lives (and that makes them better)
On the contrary, to be a successful writer, your life needs to be balanced, functional and firing on all cylinders. Meeting deadlines, handling critique and rejection… these all require soundness of mind and a steady composition. Sure, there are famous examples of writers who churned out bestselling work in between bouts in rehab, but this is not the norm and certainly not recommended. Make every effort to be emotionally, physically and spiritually healthy, and there you will do your best work.
Myth No. 3: All writers are ex-English majors
Great writing does not require a complete mastery of the APA Formatting & Style Guide. Still not sure when to use a semi-colon? Occasionally misuse there/their/they’re? You are not disqualified as a writer. Editors exist for a reason. If grammar is not your strength, utilize all the grammar tools you can find and hire a quality editor. Embrace your weakness, do what you can to improve, and don’t be restrained from using your gift of writing.
Myth No. 4: All writers are hermits
The bearded, pipe-smoking writer sits on the front porch of his mountain cabin, surveying the scenery as inspiration floods his mind. Is that the view you have of great writers? Sure, many find solitude helpful in getting work done, but there are plenty of successful authors who write in car lines, buses and noisy Starbucks corners. There are also many writers who are full of personality and don’t exhibit the stereotypical traits of the introverted genius.
In a recent Certa post, we excerpted author Jon Acuff, who wrote:
In our heads we see a small isolated cabin in a quiet patch of woods. There’s a porch with a swing out front. We sit on that when we need a break from all the amazing words we’ve written inside. There’s not much behind that cabin door, just a humble table like Hemingway probably used, a chair our grandfather made by hand and some sort of way to gather our words. For some, it’s a stack of fresh, white paper and a favorite pen. Others see a typewriter that makes real clickity clack sounds with each brilliant word you capture. The days pile up as the pages do too and we emerge from this literary sabbatical with a book and a beard. (Unless you’re a lady, the beard is not nearly as cool in your story.)
I thought that would be my life when I became a full time writer.
He goes on to explain how this is not his reality, nor the reality of most writers he knows. Don’t buy the lie that there is a one-size-fits-all personality type that all authors must fit in to.
At Certa Publishing, we love nothing more than watching someone discover their God-given gift of writing, and then help that gift bloom right there in the midst of their every day lives. Contact us today so we can partner with you!