THE BLOG

The Truth About Being a Writer

08/08/2013 17:32 BST | Updated 06/10/2013 10:12 BST

Coming out as a writer can be one of the most terrifying confessions you will ever have to make. And, when I say writer, I mean a novelist, of course. If you are lucky, as I was, you will have supportive family and friends who will encourage your endeavours, up until you've been sleeping on a kind hearted loved one's sofa for 18 months.

There are a few things you need to know before you embark upon the greatest of life choices. First of all, it is absolutely acceptable to tell people that you are a writer, even if you haven't even begun to write. If you say it people automatically think you're sensational.

If you're wondering what writer's wear, don't be fooled by hipsters, they aren't all writers. They are what we might imagine writers to look like but most of us sit at home in our pyjamas or something equally comfortable. This means you don't have to grow a beard or wear a beanie on a hot day with a t-shirt. Don't go into writing with false notions about what a writer really is. Although, yes, I would like to generalise and say, all writers are hermits. You will have to limit your socialising - I'd say a 92% cut back is reasonable.

You will get the best ideas of your life at the most inconvenient times. For instance, if you were in the process of being fired, you'd probably have a Nobel Prize winning idea simultaneously and tell them to screw their job; you're going to change the way a generation thinks through your prose. You'll leave the room and *poof* the idea is gone. You will spend the next 50 years telling people that you had an incredible idea once; that you're going to write the greatest novel one day, but you'll never remember it, so, always carry with you something to write your notes in. Leather bound hardback books make you look far more legitimate.

You won't write as often as you think. Most of the posts on my blog are related to my not writing. Only a few people can write a novel in a month, and they are, what I like to consider, freaks. The best I've ever achieved is 20,000 words in a month. If you beat that, well, you just don't sleep or eat or do anything other than write. I prefer walking around telling people that I'm a writer instead of actually doing it.

The greatest challenge you will face as a writer is signing cards. After bragging to everyone about the novel you've written that will be, no doubt, published tomorrow, you will have to prove your skill time and time again. Everyone will expect something witty, something clever or something profound. The pressure has become so great that as soon as someone presents me with a birthday card I get the shakes. The worst is when you are writing a leaving card and a colleague has already put something that is witty and you absolutely have to be better, otherwise, what's the point in being a writer?

After cards there's Facebook, and I suppose for those of you that tweet, Twitter. You can no longer get away with "FML" and "☹" with no qualifiers. Oh no, you have to be entertaining. Don't go profound, it really isn't the place and quite frankly, it just pisses people off.

So there you have it, the truth about being a writer. Although, the best thing about being a writer is that every word that you write can be a complete fabrication of the truth.