Stereotypes of writers

Most groups include some form of stereotype, and writers are no different. You think writer; an image pops up, so I decided to go over some of the most common stereotypes.

Writers love coffee. This stereotype arises from the need to have a sharp mind. Oddly enough, most writers I know don’t drink coffee at all. I always make coffee for the meetings we have, but I’m the only one that takes a cup. Everyone else brings soda, tea, juice, or plain water.

Writers own cats. I know of at least two other writers in my group who own only dogs. I own a cat, but never went looking to own one. He showed up on my porch one day. There are benefits to having a cat, who make few demands on their owners, and often sit in the room quietly while you write. (Except mine, of course).

Writers are depressed or emotional. Visions of Edgar Allen Poe or other authors tend to lend to this stereotype. I find this untrue for the most part. Although you do find emotional laden individuals, generally writers are enthusiastic about many things. You need passion to write, and in touch with your emotion in order to write emotionally, and to provoke that in your readers.

Writers spend much of their day alone. Here is another falsehood. Many writers I know complain about not having enough time to write. Of course, most have other jobs, or the demands of Life persist with imposing on their writing time. Writers that do spend much of their time alone, often need to get out into society in order to refresh and re-energize before returning to crafting their manuscript.

Writer’s complain about writer’s block. You only have to endure writer’s block once to understand the frustration and inner turmoil such a state brings. Most writers know exactly what the term means, and often commiserate as a means for healing and understanding. This stereotype is perhaps the only one on this list that strikes true.

Writers write with stereotypes all the time. Many stories certainly have them; the villian with dark hair and ominous laugh, the hero that does everything right, the beautiful woman who turns out to be the love interest. Such stereotypes make for easy reading. Unfortunately, not entertaining reading. This will be a whole blog entry later this month.

I find that many groups have stereotypes for a reason, but I can assure you with this group that not all writers are the same because not all writers write the same.

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20 Comments

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20 responses to “Stereotypes of writers

  1. I always enjoy your blogs, but this morning, I REALLY enjoyed it. I will be adding you to my blog roll for sure. Thanks for all you great great blogs, articles, and helps. You have an amazing site here.

    Sam

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  2. grace

    I fit a slightly depressing number of these stereotypes…

    *goes and hides with her cat*

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  3. None of these stereotypes fit perfectly but there are similarities to most of them. I have never had writers block but I do know what it is. I have to write every chance I get since I have many people to care for. I sit at the computer and write, often into the wee hours since that is the only quiet time I have. What I write at any one time may have to be revised but I always put something down on paper. I have published seven books and have another ready to be sent to my publisher. During that time, I taught school, took night classes, reared 4 children, and did community work. I must confess that I sometimes became depressed since the light at the end of the tunnel was very dim. I conquered that by getting involved in helping someone else and left the writing project I was working on at that time; but only for a short time. I almost always finish a writing project once it is started. I confess to having a full length play, two book beginnings, and some childrens work that have never gone to a publisher but I will evenutally do something with them, I hope.

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  6. Excellent information and thank you.

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  7. Tim

    How about alcoholism or smoking?

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    • Its funny you should mention that. I’ve had a drink or two to help relax in the evenings, and found it can help me also shut-up the inner editor. I wondered if perhaps the famous writers who were addicts felt the same. It certainly makes you think.

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  8. Thank you so much for this writing entry! I thought it was very insightful–too many times from other people I have heard these cliches repeated over and over. Also, it was very well written. I’m adding frootball31 to my blog list based on this entry alone.

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  9. Carla Araneda

    It’s funny, but most of those stereotypes apply with me. I love coffee and my cat is my life :). Oh, but I specially agree with the writer’s block stereotype. We all know how horrible that is. You feel useless. You feel like you’ll never succeed in anything D:. Such a horrible feeling.

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  10. Zachariah Malcolm

    Being a writer myself, I love coffee, I own cats, I complain about writers block, but even my first novel defies most stereotypes, my hero/ protagonist has nearly an entire chapter devouted to pure evil, Him torturing an Alien prisoner WELL after the Alien gives him the information he desired, sadly enough I spend most of my day alone, cooped up in my room, attempting to move on the story, which is stuck at a crucial part, and I just can’t seem to come up with the right thing for my Deuteragonist to say to my protagonist, One measly line of dialogue

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    • I’m not above skipping a scene and moving to another scenes, in the hopes of finding just the right thing for the original scene. You could also have him interrupted by someone else, so he doesn’t have to respond.
      Good luck- may your writer’s muse grace you with the answer!
      πŸ˜‰

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      • Zachariah Malcolm

        Its her, and him, in a room, alone, without any battle in sight, its bad writing just to have the failed alien invasion come in with 12 more of the alien’s motherships, when its supposedly humanities first success in 4 years of mass massacre and near extinction, (to set in your mind how large this mass extinction is, in 4 years the entire human population of the milky way galaxy went from 8 trillion, too 8 billion) we also lost earth, and failed in succeeding to take it

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  11. I’m a writer, but I’ve never had coffee, I don’t have (and probably won’t ever have) a cat, I’m a social butterfly (meaning I don’t spend my days glued to the computer or my notebooks) and I rarely get writer’s block–and when I do, I don’t complain about it. I just switch projects. =) I think of all on the list, I would say that I’m pretty emotional, and sometimes a little depressed (which teenager isn’t?) but I definitely don’t write with too many stereotypes. You’re right–writers come in all shapes and sizes, and have different habit. I see some people drink, others smoke. I often listen to music. LOUD. Or I’ll hit up another writer friend and we’ll Skype …and listen to each other edit, brainstorm, and rewrite …out loud. Sounds weird, but its amazingly motivating. So yeah, Hollywood or whoever may have their definition of a writer, but I think it’s cool that we writers can define ourselves, just the way we want to be. πŸ™‚

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    • I envy writers who can write amid others. I tried writing in a cafe (to get away from home for a bit) and found ever little sound, or slightest movement, distracted me. We writers come in all shapes, sizes, temperaments, and personalities, and its wonderful to have such a diverse world!
      Thanks for the comment!
      πŸ˜‰

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  14. kylieg15

    I’m in the midst of a post about how I’m an ‘atypical’ writer, and I was googling common writer stereotypes. Your post popped up. I loved this read and am thankful it exists. Not all writers sit in the back of a coffee shop, huddled over their computer day in and day out! Like your colleagues, I stick to tea. Though I can’t deny the emotional part πŸ™‚

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