For the readers and writers tuning in, this week I’m going to poke a bit of fun at our chosen profession. Writing can be an isolating job with large amounts of time spent crafting characters and stories in our own minds. For that reason, I think it’s important that we keep it real and learn to laugh at ourselves, lest we start to take ourselves too seriously!
The following list is by no means exhaustive, but I will venture to say that every writer will, at one time or another, display tendencies of each…
- The Wide-Eyed Innocent
This is one of the most common breeds of writer in the UK and beyond. Typically, they come to the profession fresh-faced from university, where they most likely studied English, read Kerouac and spent much of that time in a haze of marijuana smoke (optional). The idealistic nature of their existence leads them to turn their noses up at piddling little things like marketing, sales figures and – worst of all – deadlines, which are to be viewed as the dictatorial imposition of neo-Fascist ideas designed to curb one’s natural creativity.
When they aren’t contemplating writing the Next Great Novel, which would naturally reduce the average drinker of fine wine to emotional tears and have them reaching for the Booker hotline, this breed is likely to be found strumming an acoustic guitar or taking long strolls along the riverbank musing about the vagaries of life.
- The Romantic
Writers of this breed spend much of their lives perpetually re-enacting scenes from Down and Out in Paris and London, and making a home for themselves inside independent coffee shops – the more rustic, the better. Heaven forbid, they should wander into a chain. The Romantic is a rare breed of writer, usually talented in the crafting of high literature, but sadly lacking in confidence, which leads them never to show any of their work to any kind of audience except their mother (to whom they are devoted).
When they aren’t lamenting their woeful lack of vision, these wordsmiths are usually to be found touting vintage goods and listening to moody jazz. They are also likely to sport a beard (unisex) and to wear at least one corduroy item of clothing.
- The Passive Aggressive
This breed is very common and displays marked signs of their defining trait once they have experienced a small taste of literary success, which they guard jealously like a mother hen. They regard each new generation of writers with strong suspicion, fearing that they will poach their readership. No amount of cajoling, flattery, or factual statistics about the many millions of readers and books available will alter this inherent viewpoint. The Passive Aggressive fears ‘modern’ enterprises, such as social media and digital publishing, which they consider the Devil’s Work, whilst at the same time longing to be part of it.
When they aren’t refreshing their sales screens or practicing their selfie technique, this breed of writer can readily be found lurking inside bookshops re-arranging the paperbacks to their satisfaction or listening to classical music.
- The High Flyer
This is a pedigree breed of writer. Following many years of careful tutelage in the ways of crafting a novel (and marketing it effectively), they finally burst out of the nether with a game-changing work of fiction which appeals to the current mood of society and also works nicely as a screenplay. They are not always easy to spot; some are flamboyant and enjoy the celebrity of their status, whilst others become reclusive and take to wearing organic cotton and bare feet at all times.
When they aren’t travelling for nine months of the year, they can be found dodging armies of devoted fans (or seeking them out, depending on preference) whilst wearing large sunglasses and listening to Chesney Hawkes.
I will leave it to you to decide whether you fall into any of these categories, but, for now, I’m off to brush up on my Orwell and book some guitar lessons…
Catch you later!