Misconceptions About the Writing Life
The author part of me always gets asked some wild questions and runs into some wacky assumptions about authors. I thought I’d highlight a few and “set the record straight,” at least from my perspective and experience.
Misconception #1: If you’re an author you must be famous or some kind of celebrity.
The record: I’m an author and I’m not famous nor am I a celebrity. While in line at the grocery store, I’ve never seen my face on STAR magazine next to Angelina’s or Brad’s (and believe me, I check). I’ve never been stalked, never had to fight off obnoxious reporters or photographers, and quite frankly live my life in relative anonymity. And I like it that way. But it would be nice to just once have someone say to me, “Hey, aren’t you . . .?” I have been mistook for Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and, in my younger days, Michael J. Fox. Hey, that’s good enough.
Misconception #2: If you’re an author you must write full time.
The record: Very few (VERY few) authors can afford to write full time. And the majority of them are folks whose spouse has a “real” job. Writing books is a tough business to be in and just is not lucrative at all. It’s good for pocket change and grocery money. People act shocked when they realize I have a real job AND write, as if the real job isn’t necessary. Folks, if my family of five lived off what I’ve made so far off my books, we’d be squatting in some shanty in the Ozarks . . . or living quite comfortably off government hand-outs (ahem). Hmmm.
Misconception #3: If you’re an author you must be rich.
The record: I think I just answered this. I’m always amazed at how skewed people’s understanding of writing is. They hear names like Rowling and King and Patterson and Evanovich and how they’re selling millions and living the good life and just assume all authors enjoy the same luxury. It’s a shame, but America just isn’t that literate.
Misconception #4: There’s no way I have time to hold down a full time job AND write AND be involved in church AND spend time with my family.
The record: It’s amazing how much time there is in a day if you use it wisely. Time management is one of the things that comes naturally to me. I don’t squander a lot to time. I have time to write and do writerly things (in the early morning when every one else is sleeping), time to do my job, time to spend with the family, time to do church stuff, and time to just chill. There’s 24 hours in a day. I sleep about seven of those, work nine (counting travel to and from) . . . that leaves me eight. Eight hours! That’s a lot of time in a day. I can get A LOT done in eight hours.
Stay tuned for more misconceptions coming soon . . .