Lots of books cover being comfortable in your own skin. They center on being content with who you are and what you do. As a writer, or someone who is required to write frequently, you should know this: Authors of any kind sometimes get misread (pun intended). I hear some interesting opinions about writers. My responses to these misconceptions concerning them are in italics.
Writers are anti-social
If I avoided people, I’d have little to write about.
A number of writers are introverts and some people may perceive this as shy, standoffish, or even mean. Just because you are more comfortable inside a library than you might be dancing at a grand ball doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you.
Some writers are also wonderful observers of life and have fantastic insight in problems and human nature. But, to do so they feel the need to step back from life sometimes. They may not be available anytime or show up for every event. Not all creative folks are introverts. Some might be 50% introvert 50% extrovert, or 60/40 leaning toward introvert. This 60/40 is where I see myself. I like to meet new friends and enjoy talking about ideas I’m passionate about. I also value quiet time. It’s OK if you’re wired that way. If writers didn’t value solitude, when would they create?
Writing is just an opportunity for the writer to talk about themselves
There are only so many stories I can tell about me – most of them embarrassing. Past experiences are good sparks, but then those spark usually meld with what I’ve learned and I discover something new. To remain interesting my writing needs to go outside of me and requires research beyond what I know. Your words should do the same. If they do, you won’t run out of topics any more than the world will run out of apple seeds.
Writers write because it’s cathartic
This is true; but for me, that isn’t my reason.
Whether you write for pleasure, publication, or for your profession, some folks will count it as unimportant. A friend of mine, who is a full-time writer, tells a story of how his relative thought his writing was a hobby until his work paid for himself, his wife, and that relative to go to Hawaii. Words are alive. Putting several words together into a coherent piece gives them the ability to inspire a new idea, alter a life, and live on after you die. For me writing isn’t black and white, it is always in color. This power in words is what fuels my writing. True, some will not understand that, but keep writing anyway. What you do matters.
2 Writing Survivor Tips:
Develop a thick skin.
Thick skin helps when others don’t understand. It also helps when editors and other writers give you constructive criticism. When your writing needs improving, good writer friends will tear apart your work and then help you reconstruct it. And the voice will still sound like yours. Realizing there is always room for improvement will help you advance. People may attack or criticize without giving you reason or direction (but that’s where the thick skin comes in).
Define what success means for you and then work towards it. Don’t focus on what someone else makes or how many books they sell. Find plans and schedules that work for you, and then start immediately working on them. You’ll be happier achieving your goals than trying to duplicate someone else. That way you will always feel comfortable in your own writer skin.
Have you ever been misunderstood as a writer? Leave a comment to encourage others.
Do you know someone who is discouraged or misunderstood. Pass this on.