What does a writer look like? That’s actually a very simple question to answer, as the law is pretty strict on the topic. He (and it’s always a he) is white, 5′ 6″ tall (maybe with an extra half-inch thrown in for good measure), has brown cropped hair, wears glasses, weighs about ten stone, and enjoys the collected works of Terry Pratchett, Stephen King, Joe Abercrombie, and China Mieville.
Thank heavens that description is so accurate, because it describes me perfectly. What do you mean that you look nothing like that description? Well then, you clearly can’t be a writer. That’s fairly obvious, but that’s the rule, so we can’t break it.
As you might have already guessed, I’m talking complete nonsense. Writers don’t have a particular look about them, nor are they similar in personality, race, religion, or politics. Many writers—shout it from the rooftops—are not white or even female.
Whilst successful writers may not look the same, many do have particular traits that are more likely to make them successful, and here are a few of them.
1. They set and stick to a schedule
Or, to put it another way, a writer needs to be disciplined. We need to stick to a routine and a schedule, just like anyone else does in their career, to make sure we’re productive.
2. They don’t need constant interaction
Successful writers need to be comfortable working by themselves. Many writers are naturally a little introverted, but it’s not compulsory; you can be an extrovert and a writer as well. You need to adjust your best way of writing to suit your personality type. Do you work best sat all day in a café, or being locked into a room with four blank walls and a kettle?
3. They show initiative
Writers are creative. We come up with ideas, are inspired by the simplest and the most complex of ideas, and aren’t afraid to ask questions and do research.
4. They maintain a professional image
Writers submit their work according to the rules, and treat editors, experts, readers, and fellow writers with respect.
We are a diverse breed, us writers, and don’t work as a homogeneous whole; there are as many writing styles as there are writers, but there is a commonality of purpose that we can all share. We treat our creativity with respect, and people will then treat us with respect. It’s common sense.
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© 2018 Matthew Munson
Available under the Thanet Writers Education Policy
Thanet-based author Matthew has three novels published by Inspired Quill, is an inveterate blogger, and writing is his passion.