Thursday, January 15, 2009

"Other Writers" Myths, or Occupational Neuroses

Some days, I can write and write and at the end of the evening realize that almost everything I've typed is going to be cut out in the next round of edits. Then my mind starts building on this despair with stories about what other, better writers do. Some are true; I've read them in some writer's guidebook or blog somewhere. Some of them are just part of the inborn "Great Writer" legends we humble wordsmiths warmth ourselves over.

Don't tell me I'm the only one...

Other Writers
  1. Other writers sit down at their computers, tap out 50 pages, and then stretch and say, "Hmm... still another hour till lunch."
  2. Other writers do not pick up new books (or friends' drafts) with dread, afraid of another Crap! That's already been done too? moment.
  3. Other writers have memorized the Chicago Manual of Style, the dictionary, and Norton's Anthology of Really Impressive Poems. For fun.
  4. Other writers have secret parties where they drink Chardonnay and do imitations of saps who haven't finished their first novels yet.
  5. Other writers do not want to lie when asked, "So, what do you do?"
  6. Other writers do not forget how to spell their protagonists' names halfway through their drafts.
  7. Other writers do not stop in the middle of writing their climaxes and think, I'd really like a chicken sandwich.
  8. Other writers would not rather play with their cats than work.
  9. Other writers do not repeat with increasing desperation, "A novel is how many pages?"
  10. Other writers will be hunted down, one by one; shot with an elephant gun; and arranged to be found holding their least favorite books.


  1. We didn't want to tell you, but we really do hold secret parties. But _real_ writers drink whiskey, just so you know.

  2. Would it be a "well-loved" copy of _Madame Bovary_ for you then? Or is there something you hate more?