Someone asked me the other day if I drank. I said yes, because I do on occasion, but through the course of the short conversation, it became apparent they assumed I drank because I was also a writer.
“A lot of writers are drunks,” they said. (Not word for word, but basically.)
Because apparently, drinking is a stereotypical behavior of a writer. I suppose I understand. All the stress from writing late into the night, the pressure to write something new and impressive, the need to write something that other people will want to read, the anxiety from skipping other daily tasks in order to write, the depression from rejection after rejection – it adds up.
Yes, I enjoy a nice glass of red wine, maybe a rum and coke here and there, or if I’m feeling up to the challenge of making a margarita. Drinking helps me get that loosey-goosey feeling going on in my brain. That doesn’t mean I rely on drinks to produce words. I rely on the sober parts of my brain for that.
But, back to this stereotype. I realize that some people out there make that assumption about me when I tell them I’m a writer. They assume I’m also a drunken night owl with a drug problem, a starving artist living in a van, or introverted nerd with a social disorder. Most, if not all, of those things might be partly true, but I dislike the negative assumptions.
Is that what people have been thinking all this time when I say I’m a writer? They think I’m some deadbeat? Well, poo on them, then. I’m no deadbeat; I have a Master’s degree! One day I’ll be a bestselling author, too. Then I’ll be singing T Swift’s “Mean,” everywhere I go. (Or actually living in a van.)