Why writers are ashamed of writing (and why they shouldn't be).

Close your eyes and pay attention to the first thing that pops into your head when I say, "writer". Ok, so some of you might have seen Stephen King's ugly mug, or maybe the dude from the movie "Misery".

Blink that away and try again, cause that's not what I'm going for. This time, think about "aspiring writer". Ah, there we go. What did you see? Most likely some kid with a mustache and a Macbook in a coffee shop. In other words, a hipster with delusions of grandeur, out to write the next "War and Peace".

Don't look at my shame!
I'm here to tell you that you are wrong. Wrong wrong wrong. And that exact reaction, the knee-jerk jump to the stuck-up scarf sitting at a wire-frame chair is the reason why writers are ashamed of writing. They are ashamed to even admit that they write, afraid to tell their family about the stories they want to share (its almost like coming out of the closet). Its too bad really, because while some amateur writers are like the hipster above, the vast majority are normal, humble, nice people who happen to tell stories (and like mice, they are more afraid of you than you are of them).

In my case, writing was the proverbial elephant in the room. Everyone in my family knew I was writing something, but not what. For over a year I hid from the world, typing in secret, swearing Becky to silence and so on. I was scared of being judged, scared that people would instantly think me to be one of those "writers". I know what people think when they find out you're a writer, you can see it in their eyes. I eventually got over that, and while I sometimes have reservations when I speak about it, I do my best to never hide who and what I am.

The point is not to scold you non-writers for your judgements, but to encourage you writers to rise above your fears. There is nothing shaming in writing. Just like a singer, construction worker, or artist, you are simply doing something you are good at. Just be sure to let people know that you are serious about it, and don't take in the negative reactions. If you don't stand up and show people how a real writer acts, they will never lose the image of that be-scarfed hipster at the coffee shop.

Finally, you other writers out there, bring others (family, friends) into your world. Let your family and friends help you. Writing can be a solitary process, but if your goal is to tell the world a story, you need others to help you! Don't be afraid, and get writing!


  1. I think another large first thought that many people have is that "aspiring writers" are like people in bands, or artists. Like they are wasting their time and should get a real job, or really actually suck but everyone has to pretend they don't because their your friend. But in reality, lots of writers, artists, and bandies are upstanding people. There's a misperception, I think, because so many FAMOUS artists, writers, and musicians are jerks and slackers. As someone who has had to help keep a writer from wallowing in self-doubt and depression, my word of advise is to not let stereotypes get to you. Remember you are unique, even though your hobby may be commonplace :) If YOU aren't embarrassed, other people will be less likely to be embarrassed for you too.

  2. Talking about aspiring musicians and artists is definitely accurate. Creative types sometimes have to breast stroke through the pool of negative stigma before they can reach the ladder and pull themselves out. Just examine yourself, and if you have something of worth, never let fear of someone else's reaction keep you down.