by Mindy Obenhaus
So you want to be a writer? Or, maybe, you’re just curious about writers. From the outside looking in, being a writer seems so glamorous. Once upon a time, before I was published or really knew much about writing, I envisioned myself in my beautiful, always-clean office, pecking out thousands of words each day, uninterrupted, with so many ideas in my head there just wasn’t time to do it all.
I must have been delusional.
Yes, people have all sorts of preconceived notions about writers, many derived from movies, television or headlines. So let’s examine some of the facts and fallacies of writing.
Fallacy #1 - Writers are wealthy
Fact: You’ll have to excuse me while I stop laughing. I know we’ve all heard stories about authors getting six and seven-figure advances, but unless you’re Nora Roberts, Stephen King or someone already famous, you may be looking at more like three or four-figures. Now, granted, there are exceptions, but if you think writing is going to make you rich, you might want to focus your efforts elsewhere.
Fallacy #2 - Writers are prolific
Fact: Not everyone, including myself, can write as fast as Ruthy or Mary Connealy. I am in awe of these women. How fast they write, how many ideas they have rolling through their heads. But while I may not be as prolific as these two, I can be consistent. Since I write for Love Inspired, my books run approximately 55K words and it usually takes me about 4-6 months from proposal to book delivery. Those who write longer books, though, may need more time. Don’t get hung-up on how many books you can write, instead, focus on writing consistently.
Fallacy #3 – Writers can’t NOT write
Fact: Sometimes writers don’t write. The reasons can vary, sometimes life gets in the way and steals our attention, while there are other times when the words just won’t come. What I’ve learned, though, is that writers are creative people. Even when we’re not writing, we’re often expressing our creativity in other ways.
Several years ago, my husband spent ten days in the hospital, and I can assure you that writing never crossed my mind. But Christmas was approaching, so I poured over magazines, gathering decorating ideas and planning my holiday menus. But that didn’t mean I wasn’t a writer.
Nowadays I have deadlines to meet, but there are times when the words don’t flow onto the page. So, rather than staring blankly at a computer screen, I create things in the kitchen or rearrange something around the house. Of course, I’m usually praying as I do those things, asking God to open the floodgates of my mind, because even though I'm not writing at that moment, I’m still a writer.
Fallacy #4 – The more you write, the easier it becomes
Fact: Writing never gets easier. You may become more proficient, but I know multi-published, best-selling authors whose ideas have been rejected. Your current contract never guarantees another. So we have to strive to come up with fresh ideas or put interesting twists on old ones in order to grab the editor’s and reader’s attention. Anything worth while is never easy. And if God has called you to write, then it’s an endeavor that is definitely worthwhile.
Writing is hard work. And, as you can see, the life of a writer really isn’t as glamorous as I’d once anticipated. That vision I had of my always-clean office? Now my philosophy is that a messy desk is a sign of a productive author. Because when I’m busy writing, I have no time to clean off my desk.
What are some of the fallacies you've heard about writers? Writers, how many of them have you learned to be false?
Three-time Carol Award nominee, Mindy Obenhaus, writes contemporary romance for Love Inspired Books. She’s passionate about touching readers with Biblical truths in an entertaining, and sometimes adventurous, manner. When she’s not writing, she enjoys cooking and spending time with her grandchildren at her Texas ranch. Learn more at www.MindyObenhaus.com