If people only wrote when they were inspired, nothing would get done. There would be nothing to read on the back of a cereal box. Magazines would only have two articles. Manuals would be comprised entirely of graphics (think IKEA). Oh, and brochures just would not exist.
If you’re a TV or movie watcher, and I suspect you are, you’ll notice that some of the most memorable and interesting characters are writers—which may or may not be because the scriptwriter is egocentric. Anyway, it’s funny to me that the caricature of a writer is someone who is sharp and artsy and conflicted, usually carrying some sort of mood/personality disorder.
I guess it’s not altogether false—I mean, look at me, I’m a bloody genius, a psychological enigma. But writing is often associated with a romantic, almost spiritual experience that I find difficult to appreciate as a professional writer. I think it’s the people who don’t have to write every day—those who “write on the side”—who see it this way. These are the people who don’t receive briefs or word counts or deadlines.
Even writer’s block is portrayed as this internal angst that the writer has to overcome before creating her masterpiece. What they never tell you is when your deadline is in five hours, you don’t have time to go out for coffee and get introspective. You have to produce. Plain and, well, not that simple.
Writing has a very practical, tedious and uninteresting quality to it. Even the most creative fiction writers have to trudge through apathy. What does this mean? Most of us writers are generally grounded and sometimes even boring individuals. You heard it here first.
It’s not that I don’t like the caricature–it’s nice to be considered intriguing just by telling a stranger what I do. I just feel like telling the truth today. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to finish an article about a construction company, after which I will write about medical technology.