There are numerous misconceptions about being a writer, and naturally, a few of them make people a bit nervous. We’ve all heard of the stereotypical writer – the hipster with glasses and complicated coffee orders. Or the perpetual intern with their notebooks and white privilege sneering at the “sheeple with day jobs”!
It’s easy enough to avoid those people, but what are the more subtle signs of a non-stereotypical writer? And how can you tell if your new squeeze is actually a writer you want to hang with? Never fear! This handy guide will tell you if your new squeeze is a stereotypical writer, or if they’re just a normal human.
1. They’re pretty passionate about their day job.
Not everyone can afford to take an unpaid internship in New York, and not everyone wants one, either. If your new partner is a non-stereotypical writer, they have done the math and decided that they need health insurance and a pension. They have a career path separate from writing and they’re passionate about it because they know they’ll last longer in a company they like. The downside? All of their writing is done in their spare time, so you’d better be able to entertain yourself for long stretches of time.
2. They have good boundaries when it comes to the work of their rivals.
Your stereotypical writer will trawl the bookstores for the latest big hits, read it, and then rip it to shreds on their blog. While hate-reading a popular piece of work is entertaining, it’s also pretty exhausting (yes, I am very guilty of all of that)! If you are dating a non-stereotypical writer, they will be pretty chill about the successes of their rivals. Moreover, they will not be watching the bestseller lists, “because it takes three years to publish anything anyway.” If they pick up a hyped book, it will be because they are genuinely curious, not because they want to ask you why “this piece of garbage gets sold for seven figures.”
3. Not everything they write is about you…
…unless, of course, you do something that inspires a lot of writing. Then all bets are off.
Look, human beings tend to remember intense and negative emotions far clearer than they do the mundane or even the positive ones. If someone broke your beloved’s heart, you bet your ass they will write about it. Conversely, if your relationship is pretty relaxed and cool, you should not be offended if they keep it out of their stories. Non-stereotypical writers are good about privacy – even if you do something that genuinely pisses them off, they will probably just tell you. So stop reading into their novel in the search for clues.
4. They are not driven to excesses.
The idea that writers spend their free time in a drunken stupor is not a realistic one. Bruh, why waste an evening snoozing over a beer when you can spend the evening perfecting your poetry collection? The rewards never compare. Even when they are celebrating, you are more likely to find them nursing a whiskey all evening than guzzling champagne from the bottle. Same goes for smoking, sex, and other excesses – non-stereotypical writers, in short, are a really boring bunch.
5. They are serious about their routines.
No, their routines do not involve candles, burning sage, or other #instagram writer bullshit. Usually, they sit down to write every day. They go for runs. Their morning pages are sacred. And if you try to tell them to take a night off, you may find yourself in the doghouse. Unfortunately, non-stereotypical writers don’t differ that much from stereotypical writers in their routines, except in this: their routines actually have a purpose in advancing them in their writing. Getting 100 rejections in a year? This helps their career. Posing for the ‘gram to the light of candles? Yeah, that’s useless (she says, after culling every writing selfie from her page.)
6. They’re selective of when they work for free.
To write is to get rejected – this is a truth your non-stereotypical writer accepts and embraces. Hence, what they will not do is work for free or for exposure… unless they think it’s really worth their while. Like the folks who reject the unpaid internships, these writers understand that there is a difference between a move that helps them hone their skills and just getting exploited. They will struggle with it, of course – because the writer’s guilt always looks the same. Hence, they will stand their ground because they know what they’re worth.
7. They will get mad if you ask them to work as a favor.
Asking your partner to write content for your marketing company as a favor will go over like a ton of bricks. Why? Because they’ve had this offer before, and it sucked. People assume they would do anything for the exposure, nevermind if it is in their wheelhouse or not. The fact that you – the person they love – pays so little attention to their passion and treats it with disrespect, is the sort of thing people get dumped for.
If you really want to show the writer in your life that you love and support them, buy their stuff. Share their blog. Look for opportunities that they might actually like. Buy them books and fix their laptop. Flowers and diamonds are overrated anyway.
And, if by any chance you are dating a stereotypical writer… buy them books, too.
There’s no writer that doesn’t love books.