Top Ten Reasons to Become a Writer

Today is Free-for-All-Friday, and thus is my choice. I was skimming through some earlier posts and came across this one…that cracks me up even now. So, I thought I would post again for the benefit of the newbies and to give my loyal followers a good laugh. Come on, you know this still makes you laugh. “Easily amused” falls in the writer job description, right?

I still remember the day I told my family I was leaving corporate sales to become a writer. I think what they heard was something akin to, “Leaving any feasible way to make a living and feed myself. Joining a cult. Kool-Aid.” Or something close to that.

If you are a writer, then you know we share this collective pain.

People ask, “So what do you do for a living?”

“I’m a writer.”

“No, I mean what do you really do? What’s your job?”


So, to repay you for your pain, here’s a laugh at our collective expense.

Top Ten Reasons to Become a Writer

10. Therapy is getting too expensive

When you become a writer, the first thing that becomes clear is that if you are at all interesting enough to be able to write good fiction, then you are seriously screwed up. As in years of expensive therapy screwed up. Writers are not normal.

So why not take all those notebooks filled with letters to your Inner Child and turn those babies into cold hard cash? I say, it is time for us to demand Inner Child Labor. Instead of letting that ungrateful punk float around in our limbic brain, it is high time we make the little twerp pull his weight.

Have anger issues coupled with violent fantasies? You are a born horror author.

Attend sex therapy to deal with a porn addiction? Erotica author.

Have “Mommy” issues? Memoir author.

9. Revenge, Duh

What better way to get back at that jerk who stood you up for the big dance? Or the toad who slept with your best friend? You got it. Become a writer. Surely you can think of a story that is in need of a pathetic cross-dressing hermaphrodite who gets killed by an inflatable doll. Slap the ex’s name on him. Just change the first letter of his last name. Heck, use your newfound power to help out your friends. Surely they can give you lists. Find a need for a character who has a tragically small penis or Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Become a writer and no one will cross you again lest they be found wearing hot pants while soliciting prostitution from sheep at the petting zoo in your next story. And hey, with the Internet, EVERYONE can be published.

8. High School Reunion Coming Up

So maybe you have done nothing with your life in the past 20 years. Who cares? All you have to do is find some out of print author and borrow his name for a bit. Hey, not like he is using it. Just tell those jerks you wanted to impress that you write under a pseudonym, and now you are “in between books.” Think of it this way, you can hold your head high that “you” accomplished something they never did, and, since you won’t have to see those jerks for another 5-10 years, no one will be the wiser. If you do get found out, it is just free publicity for the struggling dope you impersonated.

7. You drink a lot and it was either become a writer or attend AA

Enough said…

6. Can hang out with our friends somewhere other than the Renaissance festival

Renaissance festivals and Trekkie conventions can get expensive, especially when you work at the last Barnes and Noble left in your city. And while living with Mom does help off-set the cost of rent, World of Warcraft isn’t exactly free. Form a critique group with your pals and all vow to become famous writers. Hey, you still get to hang out and talk about elves and wizards and what you would do if you were a vampire, only now it is considered “work.”

5. Because what other job comes with a dress code of thrift store jeans and juvenile T-shirts?

Do you just love Superman, Mickey Mouse, or even Mr. T? I pity the fool! Feel like expressing yourself on 100% pre-shrunk cotton? Hey, if you were a 37 year old accountant or airline pilot, others might think that an entire wardrobe comprised of Xena, Firefly and Battlestar Galactica T-Shirts meant you were emotionally immature or “touched in the head.” Now that you’re a writer, you can be…eccentric. Hell, throw in a beret just to be extra annoying.

4. Because “writer” sounds so much more glamorous than “unemployed” or “Starbucks Hot Beverage Consultant”

Refer to Number 8.

3. Because it is the next best thing to having your own reality show.

Have a whacked out family or embarrassing habit? Write about it. The great thing is that now EVERYTHING is a tax write-off. Have an insatiable coffee, book and movie addiction? Then you are writer material. So go ahead and collect action figures, souvenir shot glasses and rare comic books. Do a “Tour of Pubs” and get plastered as you sample every beer under the sun. Or take that trip to Texas and ride the mechanical bull at Billy Bob’s. Just make sure you write about it, and then it is all deductable “research”…and the pictures your so-called friends post on their Facebook page of you being hauled away for Drunk and Disorderly Conduct are less “mortally embarrassing” and more “priceless promotion.” Just make sure you ask Denny’s for a receipt before they throw you out.

2. Because your family told you that you should be a doctor.

Don’t get along with your parents? Hey, go big or go home. What better way to insure your status as black sheep of the family than announce that you are giving up everything to become a writer? Short of announcing that you just converted to Scientology or that you sold all your stuff and are moving to a commune in New Mexico, telling the folks that you want to be a writer is guaranteed to make you the definitive pariah. And the plus side is that there is no studying chemistry or staying up all night to memorize Kreb’s Cycle. Just think of it this way, they will forgive you once you’re published anyway.

1. Because you can be….GOD!

Yeah, now you get a glimpse of how it feels to be the Big Guy. What other job, short of an IRS agent or a meter maid gives the raw power of being able to make or destroy lives with ….a pen?

Did I miss something? Do you guys have a reason you would like to add? Put it in the comments! Just think of this as group therapy without the privacy :D. What’s your favorite of the top ten posted? Can you relate? Share and we promise to laugh at yo-….um, be compassionate and supportive.

I love hearing from you! And to prove it and show my love, for the month of August, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

I will pick a winner every week for a critique of your first five pages. At the end of August I will pick a winner for the grand prize. A free critique from me on the first 15 pages of your novel. Good luck!

Note: I am keeping all the names for a final GRAND, GRAND PRIZE of 30 Pages (To be announced) OR a blog diagnostic. I look at your blog and give feedback to improve it. For now, I will draw weekly for 5 page edit, monthly for 15 page edit.

In the meantime, I hope you pick up copies of my best-selling books We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer . Both books are ON SALE for $4.99!!!! And both are recommended by the hottest agents and biggest authors in th biz. My methods teach you how to make building your author platform FUN. Build a platform and still have time left over to write more great books! I am here to change your approach, not your personality.


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  1. What an all-out fabulous list! My faves are Number 8 (off to choose which famous writer I’ll pretend to be at my reunion) and Number 7 (which I don’t but it sure sounds funny)!

  2. 8 out of 10 isn’t bad. Looks like I found my niche in life.

  3. This is freakin’ hilarious Kristen! I would add that I have become a writer because it is so much better than banging around my empty house now that my kids are in college, feeling sorry for myself and the medical illustration job I had before had kids is now antiquated!

  4. Thank you for reposting this. Funny indeed. Scary a bit to see how many I fit into. I feel adequately justified in my life’s calling on this Friday morning. Cheers!

  5. My parents told me I should be a lawyer and I veer towards horror in my writing. *looking around* Heh. I also identify with 9 and 3. Hilarious! Glad you shared this again.

  6. For the simple reason that hanging out my window, screaming at the sky, with cigarette in hand…no longer makes me certifiable. I’m inspired.

  7. Great list 😀 I need to print this out and frame it to hang above my desk LOL

      • krissie on March 26, 2014 at 7:34 pm
      • Reply

      i know! its great. 😀

  8. And then there’s…Try as you might, whatever else you do, it comes back to this is who you are. It’s for this reason that I feel sympathy towards transgenders.

  9. I can wear juvenile t-shirts???? How did I miss this? I’m off to the thrift store to see if they have Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles…

  10. #10 is my favorite. I keep hearing tha writers (esp fiction) are a bit touched in the head. 🙂

    1. #9 is pretty good (accurate) too…thanks for posting this

  11. Oh wow, this should come with a disclaimer. I was laughing so hard I nearly choked on my cereal.

    I’d add “You want to spend more time with foreign custom’s agents.” Almost every time I cross the border into the US, the conversation goes like this . . .

    “What do you do?”
    “I’m a writer.”
    Confused look. “Wri-ter?”
    I nod.
    Lips purse. “Who do you work for?”
    “I’m a freelancer.”
    “But who do you work for?”
    “I’m a freelancer, so I write for different magazines and newspapers.”
    They look at my passport again, I assume checking to see if it’s a fake. “So you don’t have a job.”
    “I do. I’m self-employed.”
    “Pull your car up over there, turn it off but leave the keys, and come on inside.”

    Apparently writer + American husband = flight risk. I wish I were kidding 😛

  12. My favorites are 9 and 1. Simply because there’s nothing like revenge people can’t throw you in jail for and really; who doesn’t want to play God?
    2 is good, as well, but my family is supportive, so that doesn’t work for me.

  13. I love this list. Writers don’t get any tax deductions here, though we can earn up to €40,000 a year from writing without paying any income tax on it, so that’s good.

    Now if I could just make about €39,999 a year from writing….

  14. #5 is my favourite. I hate jobs that require me to wear a suit. I’ll probably have to go back to one when my back finally sorts itself out, but for now I am tremendously grateful that I don’t have to wear one to sit on my bed and fly away to another world. #2 is the second best, simply because I really look forward to dispelling the whole Koolaid fear. And #1, well, we knew that already 😀

  15. This made my day, thanks!! 🙂

  16. Yes! Exactly what I need. Definitely going to be using some of these, LoL!

  17. Love #3. I gotta go get me some tax writeoffs! Now I know how to justify those Formula race car driving lessons…

  18. All awesome reasons!! What a great list. 🙂

  19. Hot beverage consultant. Like that. But writer or not I love my thrift store jeans and juvenile shirts. Don’t judge me.

  20. I am affirmed! I started writing as a combo of therapy and revenge. It felt so good to write the phrase “her sceptic c*%#” in regards to the friend who decided to seduce my husband…not to mention the endless things I’ve had to say about HIM :). Feels so good!

    This entire post made me laugh my straight-jacket off. Hopefully the hospital staff won’t notice 😉

    You are one of my Friday Writing Favourites without a doubt. Link coming your way 🙂

  21. Love the list! Thanks for sharing!

  22. I like #5 and #1.

    I had this conversation the other day.

    “You’d better not put me in your book.”
    “Why would I put you in my book?”
    She shuffled, shrugged and couldn’t look me in the eye. “Well, you know, all that stuff that’s happened to me in my life.”
    “Why would I write about a menopausal delinquent? My readers want to escape real life, not slit their wrists.”
    “Hmm, well just watch it because I’ll recognise myself.”
    “Trust me, you won’t.”
    Long pause.
    “I think I’ve got a book in me.”
    “Good for you, what do you read?”
    Eye roll. “When do I ever get time to read?”

    Yes, I like number #1.

    1. ROFL. Nice.

    2. Tell her they have surgical procedures to fix that. 😉

    • Laura on August 26, 2011 at 9:52 am
    • Reply

    #10 – THAT explains it! I thought it was just a boring only child thing by keeping 25 years of journals on the top shelf of my closet. Maybe I can finally let my inner nutty out!

    • Maribeth Hickman on August 26, 2011 at 9:57 am
    • Reply

    Kristen, if you decided to give up writing today (please don’t!), you could have a brilliant career as a stand-up comic! Being able to look at life so humorously is a wonderful blessing!

  23. Lol. I thought #6 was going to be “You can hang out with friends because you make them up!” Characters are friends. That does sound sort of cultish…

  24. Thanks for giving us all a great laugh! We can always count on your posts to be entertaining, but this one is beyond…

  25. Very funny. And I sometimes think I AM my own reality show…

  26. Great list. I will have to try to get more use out of numbers 9,7 and 5.

  27. I loved this post, Kristen. Because we’re writers we have a reason to be eccentric! That’s the best reason of all for our behavior! I also loved the fact that we can play “God” in our writing. We can control the destinies of all of our characters. Well done!

  28. Tried really hard not to laugh just because you said this would be funny, but I lost it at “World of Warcraft isn’t exactly free”. Still cracks me up. Whole thing is pretty hilarious. Missed it first time around. Thanks for the repost.

  29. I’m totally rocking #5–what with my eight Harry Potter tees (not exaggerating), a Calvin and Hobbes/Star Wars crossover tee, a Princess Peach tee, a My Neighbor Totoro shirt, a Pikachu shirt, and then my infamous Eeyore pajamas. I doubt any boss could take me seriously if they saw me in public. My dress code hasn’t advanced beyond college.

  30. Coffee-through-the-nose funny! Love the Renfaire/Trekkie reference. Oh, yeah. We’re all gonna be famous, uh-huh!

    @Jane Sadek: It allows you to change genders at will–without those pesky operations. And @ccmackenzie–I think we know the same people. I’ve had that conversation, too!

  31. I became a writer because I tried just about everything else and was never satisfied. I wanted to be a writer in grade school but gave up on it (at the tender age of 10!) because I thought it wouldn’t pay the bills. When my teaching career flopped after 7 years, I went back to writing. I’ve always been amazed that my “fall back career” is the one that failed and my dream job became my actual one.

    1. Love it.

  32. hee-larious! i think #10 is my favorite – inner child labor. but the whole post made me LMAO!

  33. Hilarious! Love them all 🙂

  34. As a writer I can experience all the things I would never do in real life–like kill someone, or have sex in a moving carriage, or burn down a house. It’s incredibly cathartic.

  35. I LOVE this! Being a writer is all of this and being part of a community like this makes it so much fun despite the stress involved!

    Thanks Kristen!


    1. What she said!!!

    • Emily on August 26, 2011 at 12:39 pm
    • Reply

    Thanks, Kristen!

  36. When my husband I first married we couldn’t afford much, so to help out I decided to try my hand at waitressing. At the only job interview I’ve ever had I sat down with the manager of Ruby Tuesdays and was enjoying a lovely conversation concerning silverware spots and salad bar cleanliness when the nice young man suddenly stopped talking, his jaw dropped and his eyes bugged out of his head. I glanced down to see what had turned him into a deer caught in headlights and realized my light blue t-shirt had two very large stains spreading in circles over each breast…yes, I was a nursing mother at the time and had been away from baby for a few hours too many.
    I’m sure you’ll understand why even though I got the job (the guy must have felt sorry for me) I decided to forego my trial run working for The Man and decided to follow my dream of becoming a writer.
    So in addition to your wonderfully funny list (faves were 5 and 6) I’m adding one more:
    Eleventh reason to become a writer: Mammary gland malfunctions aren’t embarassing when one is sitting at home banging away at a laptop.
    Loved the post!
    Have a great weekend!

  37. Fabulous. Inner child labor is my fave. Actually, they might all be my favorite!
    Cocktail party fodder:
    “What do you write?”
    me: “Fiction.”
    “Fiction? You mean made-up stuff?”
    me:”Yes, I’m writing romance and young adult — kind of historical fantasy.”
    “Oh, but not too much fiction.”
    me: “Err, too much fiction?”
    “Yeah, you know — stuff that’s too far out there.”
    me: “Actually, it is kind of far out there…”

  38. What fun. I remember when you posted this before. I laughed then and am laughing again. Reminds me of a piece I once wrote about coming out of the closet as a writer. It was a conversation between Glenda Gibberish and a friend. I posted it on The Blood Red Pencil blog. Here is a link if WordPress allows me to insert one. Never tried this before. LOL

  39. What a great list! LoL

  40. Awesome post. To add to the Therapy is Expensive one – It quiets the voices in my head. :-p

  41. I love this list. It’s priceless. My insurance company is paying good money for me to see a therapist, but luckily it’s not working so I’m not losing my inspiration. 😉 There is no shortage of people who deserve to be written into a book as the herpes carrying hooker, or the cross dressing ex-boyfriend, and there is always room for the people you really don’t like to be killed off violently and with great detail.


  42. #10 and #1 are my faves. 🙂 But #9, 5, and 2 also apply.

    Signed, The Black Sheep

  43. Love them all. I would be writing anyway, why not try to get some $$ for it?

  44. You pinned me with number 10! 🙂 Linked here on my blog!

  45. This was great, Kristen. Definitely therapy and hanging out with friends! Thanks for the laugh and recognition.

  46. Hmm, I got a fair bit of free therapy as my mom decided to become a pshrink after raising me. Perhaps that indicates something. The psychiatric drugs, however, can be expensive.

    Revenge, oh yes. I’d probably choose to cast them as shallow sexist philandering business folk getting crushed by an inflatable succubus or some such. Good and close to reality.

    And 10 causes 7 which causes 4 which causes 5.

  47. How is it that you are in my head? I like when I tell my Comp-101 students that I am a writer and they ask me what I write.

    The honest answer is that my last piece was published in Remodeling Magazine.

    And that I’ll write about anything if someone is willing to pay me.

    Or not pay me.

    Either way, I’m writing. 😉

    • Yolanda on August 26, 2011 at 6:34 pm
    • Reply

    I have to say, I can relate to 10,9,6 & 5. Writing is the only thereapy I can afford so that I can properly get revenge while getting to know other Trekkies on a professional basis and comfortably wearing t-shirts that people my age aren’t supposed to.

  48. Loved this post! Here’s one of my favorite quotes on writing:

    “Many people hear voices when no one is there. Some of them are called mad and are shut up in rooms where they stare at walls all day. Others are called writers and they do pretty much the same thing”. – Meg Chittenden

  49. That list is amazing! My favorite was #6. Ever since I started writing I have found more friends who enjoy talking about all that “nerdy” stuff with me than I ever imagined I could. Thank you for reposting this!

  50. It’s all true!! Great list

  51. Another reason to be a writer: You can quiet those pesky voices in your head that keep making up stories about how you save the President, World or the cute girl who sat next to you in High School English.

  52. I love your posts, Kristen!!

    It sounds like lots of us know the same people.

    When I tell friends/family I’m writing, more often than not they say “are you going to write about me?”

    My thoughts usually run along the lines of, “Dang dude, I don’t know…maybe.” I’ve learned not to say this out loud because of the loud wailing that ensues.

    Instead, I just say, “of course I am!”

    That lets everyone preen and walk away happy. 🙂

  53. 1, 5, 6 & 7 resonate, although they all have merit.

    #11 (cousin to #10) – Because the voices in your head are not in need of psychotropic drugs, just an outlet.

    And, I love the advice in We Are Not Alone.

  54. I love this list! Its so funny and… Well kind of cool 🙂 10 9 5 and 1 are the absolute best! Thanks for posting this again! Great start of my day!

  55. We get to spend our lives listening, learning and creating…and turning every sour grape life throws us into wine. Even, say, the time your feminine napkin flew from your workout shorts and hit a well-toned trainer at the gym…becomes hilarious fodder for our fiction! Um, not that I know…or anything… 😉

    Thanks for the fantastic post, Kristen!

  56. 1. Being a writer makes it okay to have voices in your head! 2. People will be okay with you staring at them if you tell them that they’re inspiring a character in your next book. 3. It’s totally appropriate to keep weird hours – so that you can write when your “creative juices flow.”

    Loved this list – the whole damned thing! I’m never disappointed in your posts!

  57. Hello from your latest subscriber. How could I not after reading this? Here I am north of NYC hunkered down for Irene, trying to finish judging blogs and books for the CWA, when hubby insists I drop everything to help him since I’m not really “working” i.e. getting paid.

  58. Reason #9 was hilarious! Some of mine:
    1. Suddenly, hours spent watching TV and movies are research because you’re learning about story structure and characterization.
    2. Much better excuse for a Coke habit. (Coca-Cola!) “I needed that caffeine to finish the last chapter before falling asleep.”
    3. Claiming that extra room in your house. Forget hubby’s “man cave”; you need a serious place to work. Expend plenty of money to decorate how you want and get a super-cushy desk chair because environment is VERY important to your ability to churn out brilliance.
    4. Writing is what you’ve always done – from poems composed on post-its, to personal journals, to write-ups at your old workplace, and now to novels. Getting to do it full-time is an unbelievable blessing, and getting PAID to do it full-time would be even better.
    Loved it, Kristen! Great post!

  59. What an awesome list, I must link this to me blog.

  60. LOL…This is great. Cheers.

  61. #9 is definitely my favorite.
    #11. I can do all the things I love and it’s not indulgence… it’s all research!

  62. You got it right on! I especially prefer the first one (God). 😉 Also, what other profession can you kill someone and get away with it (albeit it’s only on paper)? You can blow things up if you want to and none would think you’re a potential threat to national security.

    I also like the idea of creating something out of nothing. I’m a crochet fanatic after all… and a writer. 🙂

  63. I think I’ll go with #11 – I want to be rich and famous, but since I’m not good at very much except words, this is the only way I know how to achieve it.

  64. It’s also one of two professions in which you get played to play pretend. I used to envy Johnny Depp, going to work as Jack Sparrow. Now I just write about pirates whenever I want.

  65. Brilliantly done. Hilarious and totally spot on. One of mine would’ve been ‘Because you get to play Phantom of the opera: Hiding in corners at nocturnal hours practising the ultimate evil laugh.’

  66. I write because I make very bad life choices and am a heavy drinker. The statements I write for the police that usually start “I was up 50 in a casino” and end with “So, If I knew she was a guy…” The police found it funny, so decided to transcribe it. I’m the worst kind of idiot and some seem to like to read it. It’s cathartic for me… as well as step 7 on my rehab program.

    • Amanda Holly on September 1, 2011 at 6:51 am
    • Reply

    I’m late but would love to add … because I get to surf the net drooling over hotties all in the name of research! Oh how I love this list!

  67. This is hilarious. I often think of the class reunion one. LOL

  68. My top reasons for being a writer.

    I have an excuse for being so weird.
    I’ve always been an outcast at school, but as a writer, people just shrug and say I’m just another crazy artist. My insanity actually makes sense!

    Therapy costs nothing when your characters are the therapists.
    I’ve gone through therapy, and it costs a lot of money to talk to someone and have them analyze you. As a writer, I just use my characters to talk to me until I come to a promising conclusion.

    I like a challenge.
    I have dyslexia, ADHD, and a slightly lazy eye, so reading and writing are supposed to be harder for me. I’m beating the odds by what I do every day.

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