There are a lot of stereotypes out there about a lot of different kinds of people and writers are no exception to the rule. However, as we know in life, most stereotypes don’t hold weight. Let’s take a look at the common misconceptions about writers and determine just how true they are.


  1. We read too much. Ok, this is definitely true. But that’s all part of the craft. You can’t write if you don’t read because you haven’t been studying the masters of the craft. Sure, writers are also the types of people who will read the back of a cereal box or the ingredients on a shampoo bottle just because the always require something to read, but that’s what also makes us diverse in our writing skills. It’s the reason we can write blogs and marketing pamphlets as easily as we can short stories or poems. Writing and reading are mutually exclusive, kind of like love and marriage, but without all the messy modern divorce and heartache.
  2. We’re melancholic. How many writers out there are perceived as being sad, depressed or melancholic? Thanks a lot Emily Dickinson and Virginia Woolf. Now, any time you tell someone you’re a writer, they look at you like you need to be on Prozac. Yes, like all artists, writers can be prone to bouts of melancholia, but this is only because we’re looking at the world a little more carefully than everyone else and in doing so, we see its heartbreaking beauty and chaotic self-destruction. We also may or may not have a penchant for drama.
  3. We’re unemployed. The same adage that is true of students getting their Arts Degrees is often said to be true of writers: that the only thing we need to learn in University is how to properly pronounce Do you want fries with that? This couldn’t be further from the truth. While many writers are able to write one-hundred-percent of the time (lucky bums!), other writers have day jobs that support their writing lifestyle and ambitions. Click here for a list of famous writers and the day jobs they kept throughout their career.
  4. We have cats. Ok, while this may be true of Michelina, this is definitely not true of me. Writers tend to have cats over dogs because they are less maintenance which means that we can get more writing done. However, if anyone that has a cat can testify, cats tend to gravitate towards warm laptop keyboards and so can interfere with the modern writer’s work.
  5. We all want to be Steinbeck. While it is true that many writers tend to be ambitious, that ambition doesn’t always translate into writing the next great American or Canadian novel. Many writers are satisfied with being surrounded by words, glorious words, and immersing themselves in the lives of their characters and unfolding drama. In fact, some of the best writers weren’t ever concerned with fame or notoriety but simply wanted to write and write well. michelecats

Think that all writers spend their time in front of the laptop, notepad or typewriter? Think again. Some of the most famous writers in the history of literature also kept their day jobs –  some of which were more prestigious than their writing careers!

  1. Kurt Vonnegut : Saab dealership managerkurt-vonnegut
  2. John Steinbeck : apprentice painter, fruit picker, caretaker, construction workerJohn Steinbeck
  3. Stephen King: high school janitorstephen_king-coming-to-boulder
  4. J.D. Salinger: Swedish luxury liner director of entertainmentSalingerforweb_2761034b
  5. William S. Burroughs: exterminatorwilliam-s-burroughs
  6. William Faulkner: postal workerWilliam_Faulkner_1954_(3)_(photo_by_Carl_van_Vechten)
  7. T.S. Eliot: bankerThomas_Stearns_Eliot_by_Lady_Ottoline_Morrell_(1934)
  8. Robert Frost: paper boy, teaching assistant, lightbulb factory workerrobertfrost
  9. James Joyce: piano player and singerjames-joyce
  10. Nabokov: entomologistvladimir-nabokov
  11. Margaret Atwood: baristamargaret-atwood
  12. George Orwell: officer of the Indian Imperial Police in BurmaGeorge-Orwell-001
  13. Jack London: cannery, oyster piratelondon
  14. Jack Kerouac: gas station attendant, cotton picker, night guard, construction etcJackKerouac_NewBioImage_0
  15. Joseph Conrad: gunrunnerjosephconrad
  16. Lewis Carroll: mathematician, photographer, teachercaroll