Myths abound in the world of the arts, and writers are not immune to them. Many of us succumb to the fallacies that are floating around about what it means to be a writer or what it takes to become a writer.
So what’s the matter with falling for myths about writing?
Myths about writing lead to unrealistic expectations. Some of us end up believing that becoming a writer is easy. Others believe it’s impossible. We think writers are poor, drunk, or living in a state of perpetual despair. After all, one must struggle to become an artist, right?
Myths About Writing
Expectations are important. When we set realistic expectations, we can plan accordingly, and our chances for success increase exponentially. Conversely, when our expectations are incorrect, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment and failure.
So let’s debunk some of the most notorious myths about writing:
Myth: You shouldn’t read much, because other writers’ styles might leak into your work and it won’t be original.
Truth: That’s like saying you shouldn’t interact with other people because you might adopt their personalities. Trust that your own unique style will emerge, even if it is influenced by other writers. You’ll never become a good or great writer if you don’t study the work of writers who have gone before you. You’ll also be ignorant about the craft and the marketplace, and it will show in your work.
Myth: Good grammar is unnecessary if you want your writing to be raw and edgy.
Truth: Writing is raw and edgy because of what it communicates, not because it’s peppered with typos and constructed with poorly structured sentences. Bad grammar and weak sentences are not interesting or original; shoddy writing signals a lack of professionalism, laziness, and the absence of skill.
Myth: We should only write when we’re inspired.
Truth: Writers must learn how to get inspired and stay inspired. And we also need to learn how to get our work done even when we’re not feeling inspired. Otherwise, we’ll produce a whole lot of nothing.
Myth: Artistic success is borne of pure talent.
Truth: Talent is a booster, not the foundation upon which a successful artistic career is built. There’s no single ingredient that leads to success. Talent helps, but hard work, commitment, and self-discipline help a lot more.
Myth: You don’t need to hone your creative writing skills because you have natural talent.
Truth: No matter how talented you are, you are not born knowing how to read and write. There is work to be done!
Myth: Writers are poor.
This is another one that affects artists from all walks of life. Are there poor writers? Sure, of course there are. But there are also wealthy writers. Some have earned their wealth; others inherited it. There are middle-class writers too. In fact, did you know that some writers actually work day jobs while building their writing careers, as a way to keep themselves out of poverty? Imagine that.
Dispel Those Myths About Creative Writing
Sadly, many of these myths about writing come from actual writers, but falling for these misconceptions can lead you down the wrong road.
Have you ever fallen prey to any of these myths about writing? Are there other myths about writing that you’ve encountered? Share your thoughts and experiences by leaving a comment, and keep writing.