Fighting the myth of the damaged writer

It's not often I have a moan on here but over the past few months, I have come across several individuals who have stated online and elsewhere that being a writer means that you are damaged in some way.

Individual number one writes an ongoing series of posts about how to network and market your work if you're a writer. That's all well and good but this person states quite clearly that writers need this help because they are all shy, anti-social and incapable of striking up a conversation.

Individual number two runs a writing group online and has recently extended this to a physical meeting of writers in her local area. She has told me that writers are delicate, misunderstood and fearful people that need to be nurtured and protected.

There have been other instances of this sentiment of the damaged writer also and it's beginning to jar with me. We're not all incredibly shy little wall flowers who can't talk to people and peep out at the terrifying world from behind our curtains. Okay, some writers perhaps are like that in the same way that people from other walks of life can be too. Equally, there are many writers who love the limelight, are confident, eloquent at speaking and extrovert to the extreme.

Writers, as with any other group of people, are individuals. A few of us are damaged but nowadays who isn't a little bit damaged. That's life. We strive to express the stories in our heads which sometimes means we spend a little too much time with our imagined friends but daydreaming is rarely a sign of psychosis.

So please stop labelling writers as damaged, deranged, agoraphobic or just generally anti-social. We're not, well, not all of us, and not all of the time. We're people. People are strange, and wonderful, and worth reading and writing about. We're you and we don't need to make excuses for ourselves.


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