Its Like High School, Without the Braces

Beware: Contains material offensive to “part time” writers, so if you’re a sensitive little twat, then stop reading.

Right now.

Stubborn aren’t you?

Okay, fine. You asked for it.

Again, Ill begin with a quote: “The way you define yourself as a writer, is that you write every time you have a free minute.” John Irvine.

After reading an article a friend posted to their facebook about what it means to be a writer, I started thinking about all the different writers, or pseudo-writers, I’ve come across. Some are passionate beyond anything I’ve ever seen before, some are convinced that they are ‘s gift to the writing world, some only do it as a means of passing the time when they’re bored, and some of them have “fat-girl-in-tiny-bikini” syndrome. They refuse to see the DISASTER that the rest of us do in their work.

As a result, I’ve decided to take it upon myself to classify the writers of the world. Where do you fit in?

THE WRITER

The writer is someone who personifies the quote at the beginning of this post. Their 5 year plan looks the same as their 10, 15, and 20 year plans: Get published. Get published again. They can be somewhat normal – spend time with their children and spouses, even work a 9-5 job, and take the occasional vacation. But there is always time set aside, every day, without exception, for writing. And if that time has to cut into the wee hours of the night, stealing from the sand man, then so be it; because nothing is more important for their self-purpose than to write and be read.

THE PROPHET

The prophet is an arrogant sonofabitch. They nearly always have some talent, though it doesn’t have to be much. They join writers groups or critique groups and are always the first to give negative feedback, usually sounding like: “That was, um…. to make it better, I would…” But when it comes to receiving constructive criticism, they let it go in one ear and out the other, gracefully. The Writer loves to hate the Prophet.

THE HOBBYIST

The hobbyist is harmless. A muse visits them every so often, and they get the urge to put words on paper. A sentence, a stanza, a poem, a few lines of dialogue: they write it down, but rarely use it. They tell themselves “I really should make time to write” but never do. They sometimes have a journal with random scribbled lines that will probably never turn into a finished project, and that’s okay with them.

THE READER

The reader is a book obsessor – someone who will finish a book, high on the world they’ve lost themselves in, and think, “I could write something like that. Yea. I should.” But the pen never hits paper. Instead, on their trip to Borders, intent on finding a book on Writing, they leave with a stack of mainstream fiction and go home to lose themselves again.

THE DEAF ONE

The deaf one flat out refuses to take constructive criticism, even when it is asked for! The deaf one will ask a fellow writer to Beta read a MS for them, or critique a chapter or two, and then completely disregard the comments. The Deaf One is easily offended, crying at what are only helpful suggestions, and doesn’t do well in groups.

THE “WISH I WAS” WRITER

The WIW Writer is a pitiful creature. They try. They ask for constructive criticism and do what they can with it, but when it comes right down to it, their work is painful to read. They have the heart and are willing to put in the work. The talent just isn’t there. If it were possible, I would surgically remove the talent from The Prophet and implant it into the WIW Writer. They deserve it.

Have your own categories or subcategories? I’d love to hear them.

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14 thoughts on “Its Like High School, Without the Braces

  1. Haha. I know these people. I'd like to add the 'I have blah, blah, experience and I've published so many books so I know more than you all put together' writer. This writer is self published because tradition publishers and agents have it out for them and therefore refuse to acknowledge the brilliance that is their writing. These writers avoid criticism, never sharing their work with others unless money changes hands, but they are quite helpful in handing out critiques of other people's work. Who cares that the advice they give is outdated, biased or just plain wrong. They KNOW what they're doing and the rules don't apply when you KNOW what you're doing.Ever met one of those?

  2. Then there's the "wannabe-author" who wants to have already written a book, but can't be bothered to actually learn to write. This is a pipe dream.And there's the critical reader who is unimpressed with a story because he could have written it. But did he?

  3. I think you got most of them except for "The Critic."This is the person who will spend hours or even days deconstructing someone's work, pointing out the writers deficiencies and analysing the authors character development and world building skills … and then say nothing about the actual story or whether or not they actually liked anything about the book.Then goes off elsewhere to brag about their 'review.'

  4. Oh… and let us not forget "The Lawsuit looking for a place to happen."This is the 'writer' … and I use the term loosely, who spends more time suing authors whom, the writer accuses, their stole his or her ideas or even entire manuscripts. You know, the one that was rejected out-of-hand by the same publishing house that published said authors work.Or, they contend, the author must have read the writers Blog or the stories he or she published on-line and 'lifted' their ideas.And no, they don't get paid off to go away and I've never seen one win, but these kinds of frivolous suits are annoying and time consuming and expensive… even if they are dismissed out-of-hand by the courts. I'm ashamed and embarrassed to have to use the term 'writer' to describe people like this.

  5. Very perceptive article. You've been hanging out on some writing boards somewhere, haven't you? I think I've met all of these people.I liked your line: "…some of them have "fat-girl-in-tiny-bikini" syndrome…"What about the "whining writer"? "I have a story, but I don't know where to start. I just want it to be perfect."

  6. I knew I couldn't have covered all of them.Yes, Renee, I have met one of those "Bow down before me, for I am a self-publishing God and know more than you could ever hope to know."I suppose I've been getting easily pissed off lately at people who fall into some of these categories, especially since I have so much I'm trying to accomplish and its exhausting. For someone (like the prophet, or the one Renee mentioned) to brag about nothingness and then condemn me for being in the place in my writing career that I am now, makes me want to strangle puppies.I don't want to strangle puppies. I like puppies.

  7. On a more positive note, there's the Modest Writer. The one who says "I dabble a bit," then goes on to offer helpful advice. Later you discover – "God, you're HIM…"

  8. Kate, great blogpost and excellent discussion to which I have nothing to add – except perhaps to recommend the OWSFF where you meet all of these categories but where the good far – far out weigh the bad

  9. Very funny post, lol! I've run across several writers like the ones you listed. You should also have a "Published A Few Times Writer" These are the morons who get published maybe once or twice and then let it get to their egos. They put down unpublished writers and strut around the place like they're at Stephen King or J. K. Rowling status. Puh-leeze! I hate these writers! You read their stuff and it's mediocre at best, but because they're PUBLISHED they rub it in everyone's faces. Ugh!

  10. lol this is so funny! Im closest to the hobbyist, though I don't mind if people dont read what I write at all. I just write when a story really wants to come out or in class šŸ˜› I don't really want to get published

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