Sep 15, 2010

Writing Is Safe

by Tamara Passey
Writing is safe and other myths perpetuated by the non-writing public.

Have you heard any of these?
Were there some I missed? 

You do it because you love it, therefore it must be easy for you.
Right. I’m sure Olympic swimmers love to swim, but I wouldn’t call their training “easy.”

Oh, you’re a writer. Then you can write our (fill in the blank) family history, grant proposal, etc.  This has some truth. We can write. But it misses the point that there are many different kinds of writing and writers. I’m sure there are some writers that could tackle the spectrum of writing, maybe write an instruction manual for machine guns and a heart-felt eulogy for a loved one, but most writers have their strengths. An artist may be great at painting with watercolors but that doesn’t mean he’d be able to do a sketch for the police of a purse thief.

Writing must be a great career, it’s so safe!
Well, if you mean safe in the way that the Taliban are not shooting at me, yes. But most writers I know are not play-it-safe kind of people. With most jobs, someone can be judged or evaluated (and consequently criticized) for skill, technique or execution of a task. Writers receive that kind of evaluation, too. But writing is so closely connected to thinking –when you put you’re writing “out there” for anyone and everyone to read – you’re putting a little bit of your self on the line, too.  Need more proof? If you don’t like the plumber that flooded your bathroom while fixing your toilet, you call another plumber. You don’t send the first one a rejection letter.

What is not a myth about writing?
The immense satisfaction of expressing yourself with words.


  1. You know how to make frustrating situations enjoyable when recycled through your writing.

  2. Love what you said, Tamara! Thanks for that great post.

  3. You are so right Tamara. I can deconstrut a news item and write it to fit our niche market in a heartbeat, but ask me to write fiction and I'm stumped.

  4. Great points. It's safe if your ego isn't involved. Personally, I can't NOT write. Our League of Utah Writers chapter president has the following email signature line: "'s easy after all not to be a writer. most people aren't writers and very little harm comes to them." (Julian Barnes, Flaubert's Parrot)

  5. Yes, I've heard all of those, with many an amusing conversation that followed! Here's another myth I hear a lot: You wrote a book? Are you going to get it published? Oh, if only it were that easy, to write those beautiful words THE END and then presto!--my book is on the shelves! I think if people actually realized how much work is involved in completing a novel, sweating through the rewrites, and finally enduring the grueling and heartbreaking work of submitting your work to agents' and publishers' scrutiny, these people would have a lot more respect for writers. (And probably wonder why we still do it!)


Thank you for visiting. Feel free to comment on our blogger's posts.*

*We do not allow commercial links, however. If that's not clear, we mean "don't spam us with a link to your totally unrelated-to-writing site." We delete those comments.