4 things I don’t love about being a writer

lolcat-failed-hugs

I’ve previously posted 5 things to love about being a writer. As much as I love being “ra ra sis boom bah!” about writing, I also want to paint a realistic picture. No vocation is perfect, even writing.

There must be balance in the force.

To be clear, these are my top personal pain points. They don’t apply to all writers. Like the Amazon rainforest, the writing profession contains a multitude of diverse creatures.

Also, for context, I’m a professional copywriter, who blogs and writes creative fiction on the side. This list—and how I handle each pain point—is pulled from my experience.

Ready? Let’s proceed.

Incorrect assumptions

The instant I say, “I’m a writer” most people make inaccurate assumptions; some rather insulting ones, too. We all have built-in assumptions regarding other people based on their job title. However, I do grow annoyed when people hold to their assumptions after I correct them.

It usually goes like this…

Me: “I’m a writer.”

Them: “Oh, so you’re a depressed alcoholic. You know, like that guy, Poe.”

Them: “Oh, you’ve read all the classics, haven’t ya?”

Them: “Oh, what section is your book in at Barnes & Noble?”

Them: “Cool! Where does [insert giant word] come from?”

Them: “Oh, so you’re unemployed?”

They also assume that I silently correct their grammar, know every single nuance to the English language, and that I stay up until the wee hours of the morning drinking caffeine and cranking out mysterious written works they will never understand because I’m a tortured soul and they’re not.

These are not hyperbole. These are actual statements  that more than one person has stated on more than one occasion. In fact, I’ve been hearing these statements regularly since I became a writer.

How I handle it

I let the assumptions slide. I can’t change everyone’s mind. Only getting to know me better can make any difference. To clear up a few points, check out one of my previous posts, Confessions of a Copywriter.

People not understanding what I do

This applies specifically to copywriting. Unless they’re in the creative industry, most people have no idea what a copywriter does. Many people who think they know think I’m somehow involved in copyrighting. As in © 2109 Awesome Inc.

It usually goes like this…

Me: “I’m a copywriter.”

Them: “Oh! You do that copyright thing at the end of movies?”

Me: “Not that kind of copywriting, that’s a legal function. I write marketing materials.”

Them: looks confused and somehow disappointed

Me: “I write ads and web content and posters and stuff like that.”

I point at nearby advertisements to show them what I mean.

I understand; copyrighting is a familiar term and unless you know the difference, it’s a natural assumption to make. Still, I die a little inside when they look disappointed at what I actually do rather than what they thought I do.

My father in law still thinks I physically copy other people’s writing. As in hand-write the same thing someone else has written. It makes holiday conversations a little awkward, but he means well about my job and I appreciate his good intentions.

How I handle it

I change the subject. “How’s the weather treating you these days?” I live in Seattle. No shortage of stories.

Being devalued

I cringe at phrases such as “No one reads anymore.” I also cringe when people think they can write just as well because they did well in high school English.

grammer-lolcat

I’m open to feedback and collaboration, but sometimes I’m just plain right.

I understand it’s a lack of understanding the value of professional copywriting. To be fair, I don’t fully appreciate the value of other professions such as accounting, CEO, farming, race car driving, radio DJ and countless others because I don’t know better, either.

How I handle it

It depends. When it comes to people who think they don’t need my help, I choose experience. As in, I demonstrate my professional value through showing them alternate ways to write a piece and detailing why it works.

I’m careful to not shut them down or show them up. I choose collaboration and win them over as partners in the process. This approach usually works.

When it comes to “No one reads anymore,” well, I’m working on a post about that. Stay tuned.

Writer’s Block

A detailed explanation is not necessary. Writer’s block is a pain in the tail, period. But it’s especially painful when I’m working under a business-driven deadline.

Bust Writer's Block

How I handle it

If I’m blocked as a copywriter, I depend on Hortense, my inner hamster, to get the job done. Deadlines don’t wait on the muse, so I keep working and reworking and reworking until I get results. Even if it’s not as perfect as I’d like, the work will get done because that’s my job and I like receiving paychecks.

If I’m blocked on my own creative writing pursuits, I have the luxury of waiting on the muse. I can also write garbage until I finally produce something good.

Those are my top pain points. What about yours? There are so many types and niches of writers out there, I’d love to learn more. Share in the comments.
Yours, Ducky

2 thoughts on “4 things I don’t love about being a writer

    • I love a good bath! I do my best thinking dusting or going for a long walk, usually without anything on me to record all the ah-ha moments. 🙂

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