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Friday, October 26, 2012

Myths About Writing in the Media

I watch a large number of movies. A ridiculous percentage of those are romantic comedies. And every once in awhile, I find a movie that includes writers and/or the publishing industry. Here are some of the many myths that I've found these movies commonly entail.

You have to go to publishers to submit to them
So many movies have the aspiring writer going straight to the publisher and being rejected in person. In reality, this is extremely frowned upon.

Writers cannot have a day job and if they do, they're "giving up on their dream" 
The truth of this business is that most writers will not make enough money to support themselves solely on their writing. It's perfectly okay to have another job that pays the bills, especially in the beginning. Added financial pressure can even affect your writing negatively.  

You can only submit to one publisher
I'm always confused by movies that make it seem like there is only one publisher in the world. One of my favorite romantic movies of all time, My Girlfriend's Boyfriend, includes a writer that repeatedly goes back to the same publisher (in person) and gets rejected. He doesn't try to revise the manuscripts that are rejected or take them to anyone else. 

Writers are isolated
A favorite media interpretation of writers is to portray them as hermits typing away at their keyboards (or writing away in their notebooks) in seclusion. I know a lot of writers are introverted, but life is where the best ideas come from. So many of my SNIs have come when I'm out doing something or talking to people.

Writers don't have to revise their own work
So many movies show writers dashing off a first draft and then sending it directly to a publisher. I wish that the world worked this way, but sadly it doesn't.

Bestselling authordom results in the high life
Think Richard Castle from the TV show Castle. If you've never seen the show, Castle is a best-selling mystery novelist who has a house in the Hamptons, another place in New York City, a Ferrari, and a friendship with the mayor. For the very, very select few, this might be true. However, it's extremely unlikely. 

What are some other common myths about writers from TV or movies?

2 comments:

Samantha said...

Oh I love this post! I can't think of many others, I think you covered a lot. Although one that really annoys me is that 'writers will kick everyone else down to get to the top'.

I almost believed that at first until I found the writing community! Writers are the most lovely and supportive people I've had the pleasure to come in contact with.

Great post!

Laura W. said...

Journalists have glamorous lives.

Why is it that so many chick lit heroines are journalists and yet aren't horribly stressed about the fate of newspapers and magazines? It's also a hard-working and un-glamorous job (is that a word? it is now), so how do they have the free time to do -- well -- everything that happens in the entire movie? How do they afford those ridiculous wardrobes?

Ever notice how the editors, agents, publishers, bosses, etc. are always men?