Here’s What People Don’t Get About Writing as a Job

A Twitter thread asking “what does the public misunderstand about your profession?” turns up a lot of writing wisdom

Louie Mantia has an incredibly cool job: among other things, he designs icons, like emoji and iMessage stickers and the little square images for apps on your phone. But it’s also a job most people haven’t really thought about, and that they must therefore have all kinds of cockamamie ideas about. Which is probably what inspired him to ask on Twitter, “What‘s something that seems obvious within your profession, but the general public seems to misunderstand?”

The tweet has had hundreds of replies, as people in jobs from architect to zoologist rush to set the record straight. There were a few repeated refrains—teachers DO NOT get the summer off, y’all! News reporting is different from opinion columns!—and some inside info that was genuinely new to us. (Did you know anyone can become a real estate agent, but “realtor” is copyrighted and only refers to a member of the National Association of Realtors? We didn’t! Did you know all distilled spirits are gluten-free?) And there was also plenty of wisdom, conventional and otherwise, about writing (books, poetry, and online articles) as a job.

Here are some of our favorite industry secrets resulting from Mantia’s tweet. If you’ve got more, you can share them with @ElectricLit on Twitter—which, per another incredibly common contribution, is run by a seasoned professional and not an intern.

About the Author

More Like This

Jia Tolentino’s “Trick Mirror” Unspools the Chaos of the Internet

From reality TV to sexual violence, the New Yorker writer decodes the sources of millennial anxiety

Aug 6 - Lucie Shelly

Everything We Learned About Women’s Anatomy from Male Authors

Wait, you think women keep their credit cards WHERE?

Aug 2 - Jess Zimmerman

Need Writing Inspiration? Follow These Twitter Bots

Finally, looking at Twitter when you have writer's block will actually DO something

Jul 26 - Electric Literature