The Disadvantages of Being a Writer

The Disadvantages of Being a Writer

Being a writer seems easy, which is why so many people want to become writers these days; but it’s not, which is why only a few succeed.

Solitude, because not many people will understand what you do and why you do it. I enjoy solitude, but sometimes the silence becomes a great noise, bothering. Mobile phones and social media don’t help at all.

Invisibility, because you choose fantasy over reality and neglect the latter, which neglects you. I have always been good at being invisible, and as an introvert this does not bother me, but for extroverts it can be painful. For the ego.

Lack of cash, because a writer gets paid in ideas and emotions rather than in cash. I would say that’s good pay. Making money out of your writing will help you keep writing, but will rarely make you wealthy.

Fanaticism, because when you pick up the pen you establish a new religion, whose God you become.

Endless toil, because in the writer’s den every day is a working day. There will never be a day when you can say ‘I have nothing to do so I will sleep.’ Not if you want to be great.

Estrangement from friends and family, because every hour you devote to your books is an hour that could have been spent with those closest to you.

Poor shape and careless appearance, because looking after an imperfect body is not particularly appealing when you can create better bodies for yourself in your stories.

Development of emotional and intellectual abilities over physical ones, because a writer sees and hears and tastes and smells and feels mostly with their mind than with their senses.

Too much knowledge, because the more you know the more you tend to worry. Ignorance is often bliss.

Living with many uncertainties, because the journey of the writer is not straight like that of the carpenter, but winding, with many twists and turns and dead ends.

Melancholy, because every time you will leave your attic you will be disappointed by what you will see below.

(My next post will be on the advantages of being a writer.)

What are the disadvantages of being a writer?

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60 thoughts on “The Disadvantages of Being a Writer

  1. How perceptive of you! You’ve hit the nail on the head (repeatedly) I agree with 99% of these observations–and particularly like the allusion to becoming the writing “God”. (the 1 percent is exercise; I do a lot of that and it REALLY helps the process; an FYI: cardiovascular activity stimulates the cerebral cortex (what binds the ‘bellums together) and so stimulated, lends itself to creative process.) I believe you will succeed, hatted boy…:)

  2. As always, very insightful! Especially this one:

    “Endless toil, because in the writer’s den every day is a working day. There will never be a day when you can say ‘I have nothing to do so I will sleep.’ Not if you want to be great.”

    Amen, man.

  3. I love this. Makes me wonder if what I have always thought of as depression or some kind of personality flaw has something to do with my love of writing and painting. The reference to self inflicted solitude amongst other things certainly rings true for me. Great…

  4. Amazing, hatted boy. Reading this after a hiatus from this part of the world, I must say that you’ve undeniably improved! Many slide from the slippery slope, but I can see that you’re a persistent climber! Proud of you, hatted boy!

  5. A very thoughtful list. Could we add ‘lawlessness’ – while there are rules, there are no rules! No maps. No sure-fire way through.
    And ‘Nebulousness’ – no office, no set hours, no contract save with your soul (and possibly the devil!)

    1. ‘Gladly, i have found a balance between socializing, and writing. I write about imaginary relationships id like to have with real people.’

      I’d give you a hug for that, but you’re far, far away!

  6. You’ve told the story so well. I love the remark about every time you pick up the pen you establish a new religion, and about not always being well-dressed and presentable. So many people have cavalier attitude towards writing and think, oh, gee, yes, I’ll write a book one day. You’re approaching it with a healthy respect for what you’re getting into, and that’s the best starting point you could possibly come from.

    I’m anxious to hear the advantages you’ve found. You’ve got terrific insight, and I could use the wisdom of your perspective right now.

  7. I love the way that you phrase things. I have to admit that I don’t mind the solitude but I do mind getting wrapped up in what I’m writing to the point where it feels like I’m neglecting my children…I need to find a balance because when I’m excited about a project it’s too easy to forget the world outside of that project. I look forward to your next post. (Your last point made me think of Tolkien’s thoughts on writers and their creations) 🙂

  8. If only….

    What I have found is that being a writer isn’t solitary at all–it is far too social for my taste. It seems like the only way to actually sell anything is to be a rabid extrovert.

  9. Good points, but I must disagree with a few, just speaking from my personal experience. I don’t feel any particular solitude as a writer. Sure, my thought process is different than the average Joe, but part of being a writer is immersing yourself into different worlds and finding ways to relate to other peoples. If not, it is nearly impossible to write convincingly diverse characters. I’ve managed to find plenty of people in my program to relate to, as well as at church events, sports teams, and clubs.

    Also, poor shape and careless appearance! Of course a writer can dress cute, work on the physical aesthetics of their body, and write well. There’s always a balance. Successful writers might not live double lives as football players, basketball stars, or ballerinas, but most every writer friend I know is involved in either a sport or a daily physical fitness regime.

    And the melancholy: isn’t that more of a temperament issue? I haven’t noticed the rates of depression are higher among writers than other artists, or even other professions.

  10. Great post, Vincent! I feel all those things, and I’ve only been trying to avoid becoming a writer. The stories in my head won’t leave me alone, though! Following! 🙂

  11. Had I, when your age, that depth of insight regarding the craft I would almost certainly not have pursued it. In a way I was lucky in finding regular employment that required me to write (though not fiction), and exposed me to some of the most interesting people in Britain.

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