12 Assumptions Made About Authors

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:

Assumptions about Authors

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.

CS Lewis Quote


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:

  • Restaurant
  • Unfazed
  • Rejuvenate
  • Jewelry
  • 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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About Nadine Brandes

Nadine Brandes is an adventurer, fusing authentic faith with bold imagination. She never received her Hogwarts letter, but rest assured she’s no Muggle (and would have been in Ravenclaw House, thank you very much.) This Harry Potter super-nerd has been known to eat an entire package of Oreos (family size) by herself, and watches Fiddler on the Roof at least once a year. She writes about brave living, finding purpose, and other worlds soaked in imagination. Her dystopian trilogy (The Out of Time Series) challenged her to pursue shalom, which is now her favorite word (followed closely by bumbershoot.) When Nadine’s not taste-testing a new chai or editing fantasy novels, she and her knight-in-shining armor (nickname: “hubby”) are out pursuing adventures.
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  1. Love it!!! The points about spelling; so true. I am an awful speller. But hey, that’s what spell check is for, right? (except for the two or three words that even spell check doesn’t recognize…)

    And making up stories on the spot. Just…no. Yes, I love to write books. But that doesn’t mean I can just sit down and come up with a short movie idea with no trouble. 🙂

  2. I actually like Scrabble and coffee…*hides* 😛 This was awesome!

  3. Fantastic article…so true. I’m the one in a million extroverted author. But…I also people watch. Grin

  4. This is delightful! As someone who switched from an English degree I can attest to the spelling and grammar expectations (and to the faking it *cough). Laughed out loud at the two years per story line, it’s so true!

  5. Hahaha–omg the camp scenario!

  6. For number 2, I don’t like coffee or tea. Soda is my addiction. But when I’m writing, just water. I don’t know why…great list, Nadine.

    • It’s probably better that you drink water while writing. Otherwise you’d be like me and drink three cups of tea a day, eventually wondering when the last time you had water was. 😉

  7. This is awesome! Oh my word I needed this laugh. Definitely going to be sharing it with some friends!

  8. Ok, for #6 . . . just, no. XD I have always abhorred the feeling I get when I stay in pajamas after I get up. Possibly it has to do with staying in pajamas when you’re sick . . . I think the two connect. 🙂

    • Ooh there’s a definite connection there. And, in all honesty, I really don’t live in my PJs. 😛 I much prefer feeling like I’ve “dressed for the work day” when I sit to write.

  9. Love it! But really a unitaurs? is that what you are? How come I never knew before now!

  10. Haha. I’ll be a dragicorn, I tell you. And I’ve got that Gollum hiss down!! 😛

    *hides* I can’t stand wearing pajamas out of my room. And I hate staying in my room past 8:30. Oops. #writerfail But I ADORE math! It is my life, with, you know, books and stuff. 😉

  11. Hmm interesting…. does that mean when I get published I’ll have to go through some secret author ceremony to get my unicorn horn? 😉

  12. I am a unitaur who has always wanted to be a dragicorn. Sigh.

  13. Unfortunately, I fit all of your myths (like, for me they’re true, when theyre not for you or others :-P_, except the coffee. But I’m also the oddball 100% extroverted author, sooooooo…. I think I’m the really strange one. 😛

  14. Yes, definitely no pajamas for me… I dislike the feeling it gives if I’m accidentally in pajamas too long. Like Lauren says, I think it may be linked to sick days! 🙂
    But I do exercise the right to dress in whatever way I choose… incorporating historical pieces into everyday… which in fact, I think everyone should do! (Unless they have a super rigid boss, but then you can still choose on your off days, right?)

    There are definitely a lot of misconceptions out there…

    (Oh! The pajama thing is also a homeschooler myth, sort of funny that I should go from one myth to the other… 😉 Anyway, we never did that as kids, either. Get up, make your bed, get dressed. Now you’re ready for the day. 🙂 )

  15. Love this list. I like coffee, but hated it until I got married. Actually, I hated it even then, until I had kids. lol.
    I am an extrovert. And I suck at coming up with random stories on the spot. I was never good at short stories anyway. My stories are always long and drawn out.
    Fun list, thanks for sharing!

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