For those not in the author world, it’s tough to know what author lives are like. I remember back before I was in the author circles. I was a fangirl writing books just because I couldn’t breathe right unless I was writing. I imagined what an author life might look like — living in the Beast’s library, perfecting my signature, building a writing cabin . . .
You know. Realistic stuff.
But now I’m through the “published author” door, so I might as well blow our cover and debunk the assumptions the world makes about authors. Are you ready? Let’s get to it, then:
1. Authors are really fast readers
Let me be the first one to debunk this. I am a very slow reader. I don’t know why, because I read a lot, especially since I’m an editor. I like to think I just read slowly because I’m focused and absorbing the content. Yeah, let’s go with that excuse. 😛
But if I wanted to read an average-lengthened fiction book in one sitting, it’ll take me somewhere around 8 hours. *wail* But I’ve perfected the art of “chipping away” at a book.
2. Authors live off like coffee
No! Get it right. We live off of tea. Tea is magic. Okay, I did drink coffee at one time. But that was before I went and lived in England for 4 months and then fell in love with tea. Come to my house. I will make you love it.
3. All authors are grammar police.
We authors know everything about grammar and are always judging your speech and grammar. Right? Right?
Um . . . no.
Some authors are grammar police, but most of us aren’t. We’re more character-arc-police or plot-hole-police. Don’t get me wrong, I laugh at those Grammar memes as much as the next person, but sometimes that laughing is because I don’t even get it, and I know that I probably should.
I know I have grammar mess-ups all the time in my writing. That is why I love handing it to the publishing house’s copyeditor. They tackle that side of writing. For me, I couldn’t tell you the difference between a participle or conjunction. (But I can tell you that I’m pro-Oxford comma. 😉 )
4. Authors have free time for mani pedis
Mani pedis ALL THE TIME! (because, you know, writing isn’t a REAL job unless you’re J. K. Rowling. And . . . even then . . . ) Not only do we have all the time in the world for mani pedis, but we’re also incredibly rich and can afford a fresh one every day.
Riiiiiiight. Free time? Money? I’ve never heard these words before.
I’m lucky if I get my nails done once a year. And when I am getting my nails done, I’m sitting there thinking of all the stuff I could be writing during that hour. 😛 Writers are incredibly busy. We have full-time jobs that pay about $0.12/hour. #Worthit
Our jobs are like constant Crossfit on our brains. We never stop brainstorming. It’s not a 9-5 thing. So no, we probably can’t babysit your nineteen children four days a week. (Even though those quadruplets are so cuuuuute.)
5. An author’s favorite board game is Scrabble.
No! No, no no, just stop! Don’t you realize that we stare at words all day long? In books, in our writing, in our heads . . . it never stops. Why would we want to then play a game about words? Yes, we love words. But we also hate words. Because we’re schizophrenic . . . because we are authors.
Okay, I actually do enjoy Scrabble. But I like Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, Stone Age, Carcassone, Dutch Blitz, 31, and Exploding Kittens (thanks Jason Joyner!) a whole lot more.
6. Authors stay in their pajamas all day.
This one is, in fact, true. I probably own more pairs of PJs than normal clothes. 😉
7. An author’s only hobby is reading.
This is so false. Most of my writer friends hardly even find time to read. Besides, the universal favorite hobby of all authors is people watching. Yup. We are watching you. *evil laugh* Actually, we are watching and totally analyzing you. You might think we’re just sitting there journaling but we are, in fact, writing a detailed description of you for a future character. (Or villain . . . depending on how nice you are to us.)
I have many hobbies. I play board games, I go adventuring, I ride my bike, I cook, I eat Oreos . . . and yes, I do read. A lot. So that is a valid hobby. But it’s not my only one.
8. Authors are introverted hermits who avoid people.
We don’t actually avoid, we just hiss.
Kidding. Did you know there are actually extroverted writers out there? Ones that enjoy being around people? Crazy, right? But even with the introverts . . . we still like exploring and adventuring and experiencing life.
I know a lot of authors. And I’ve met the majority of them at writers conferences. This means . . . we have left our caves!!! We dared to travel! We dared to mingle with hundreds of other jumpy introverts. And many of us do this every year.
How do you think we write such believable characters? We have to be around people!
9. Authors are really good spellers.
In fact, if we weren’t writing we would be winning the National Spelling Bee every year.
Ha! I can’t tell you how many times people come to me: “How do you spell this-really-hard-to-spell-random-word?” And I just spew out a string of letters whether they’re right or not. Because I am an author AND I MUST KEEP UP MY REPUTATION OF BEING A SPELL-MASTER!
For those who are curious . . . here are words I can’t spell without consulting a dictionary:
- Any word with double letters. -.- They are my nemesis.
I can, however, spell chrysanthemum perfectly (and with sass) every time, all thanks to the Anne of Green Gables TV Series.
10. All authors can create fabulous stories on the spot.
Scenario: We are at camp and we have to come up with a silly play in 30 minutes with four completely random props. (As well as 4-6 completely random strangers. 😳 *screams*) All the campers turn to Nadine. “Hey, you write books! YOU COME UP WITH OUR PLAY. We’ll do whatever you tell us!”
Thanks. Thanks a lot. Because I work great under pressure. 😑 (This is when the Gollum hissing comes out again.)
No! I can’t do the improv stuff! I’m an introvert, remember? And now you want me to bare my soul and scrape out a sub-par story to ACT OUT IN FRONT OF AN ENTIRE CAMP? Not just that, but lead everybody else through this? Do you want me to die in public? Do you really want that on your conscience?
If you give me two and a half years, I can probably come up with something I’m okay with handing you.
11. Authors are really bad at math.
For me, this is true. I’M TERRIBLE AT MATH. If my life depended on a subtraction problem, I’d die. However, not all authors are bad at math. Just go ask Patrick W. Carr — he is a math teacher. O.o
And go read The Martian, by Andy Weir. That book is like fiction for math-people.
12. Authors are human
*shakes head and laughs* It’s so funny how often people think we authors are human. We have mastered the art of deception. Most of us are, actually, unitaurs. That’s a unicorn-centaur . . . in case you were out of the loop. But our unicorn horns allow us to disguise our appearance so we look human. Some of us are also dragicorns (dragon-unicorn). Now you know. But you won’t believe me because I still look human.
And there you have it. 12 myths debunked. Did I miss any?
What is one thing you find yourself assuming about authors?
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