Nor do you have to be a drug addict, have a mental psychosis, or bask in the misery of others. No.
You just need to be a thinker–a good one–and an observer.
I’m actually a goody-two-shoes. The most I’ve ever done is drink underage (seduced by Coke and rum at 17 years old), and drive to Flagstaff behind my parents’ backs. In junior high, when my 13-year-old friends pranced around the mall in mini skirts and lipstick, my mother condemned boys, forcing me into a life of homework solitude.
I might be a little nutty (as everyone who knows me will attest), but I’m not your typical depressed, drunk, Edgar Allen Poe writer. I never went “goth,” and I like makeup and pedicures. At the same time, I want to hike the Grand Canyon and go on Safari in Africa.
I do suffer from ADHD, but what creative doesn’t?
Don’t fit the stereotype? Who cares!
All that matters is your work. So who cares if you’re happily married, hold down a 9-5 job, or are living a satisfactory single life? Maybe you’re a homebody who prefers the company of your cats–or maybe you love talking with people and hate being alone.
Maybe you’ve never been suicidal, or maybe you’ve contemplated driving off a cliff. Perhaps your dad cheated on your mom when you were 10, and now you struggle with monogamy. Or perhaps they’re growing old together in the same house, and you’re suffering from THEIR empty-nest syndrome.
My point is, you are YOU. And you should write–as you.
This individual voice is what draws others back to read your work again, and again, and again. Don’t fear it, don’t run from it. Let it shine through–like the unique individual you are.
How do you find that voice?
Ask yourself some of these questions: How do I talk every day? What types of jokes do I tell, or laugh at? What makes me angry, and how do I react?
I could never decipher the secret to writing humor, until I began writing as I naturally talk and laugh. People now love my voice (or so they’ve said).
Your voice is a representation of you. Never forget that.
So, even if you are an alcoholic . . .
Embrace it! Been diagnosed bi-polar? Love it! And if you think you’re normal, you’re really not. Trust me, you have plenty to write about. Don’t let the writer stereotype hold you back from that masterpiece.
SO TELL ME: What are some stereotypes–as a writer or otherwise–that you’ve struggled with?