Spot the Writer in the Crowd


How good are you at guessing what people do merely by looking at them? For instance, could you spot the writer in the queue of people at your local supermarket checkout, or buying something in your neighbourhood convenience store?

How about on the crowded commuter train or bus you use each day? Have you ever thought about what the people you see walking along the street outside your door every day may do for a living?

For the vast majority of the population of any country you care to name, while you may see a highly recognisable and successful writer, signing copies of their latest work in a bookshop near you, most would simply not realise that you probably had a writer of your very own living in your midst.

If you were asked to describe what you believe a writer looks like, what would you say? In reality, anyone encountering me on the street would probably do their level best to avoid contact.

The person they would see before them is a dishevelled, bearded, balding old man with a limp, in his mid-sixties, who prefers to wear old jeans and T-shirts – not that I go out much these days. People make completely incorrect assumptions about others. In my case I would be automatically pigeonholed as a sad old loser, judging by the way I look.

Boy would you ever be wrong! Mostly all I want is to be left alone to do what I love – writing. Physical appearance is immaterial to my way of thinking. What’s inside an individual is what counts with me.

I hardly fit the stereotype of what the English public perceives a writer should look like, and that suits me just fine. It means I can get on with that next novel, apart from the odd interruption to my daily work schedule, like the postman, paperboy, or my grocery delivery once a week. Out of the nine thousand plus people living alongside me in the small English market town in which I live, less than ten of them know that I write. It always makes me laugh when people find out that about me. The look on their faces is always priceless – yet another totally misguided assumption of theirs, blown to hell.

The really weird thing is that in the world of ebooks I’m known to thousands across the planet, mostly in the US. If I was to walk past them would they realise who I was – probably not.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining – far from it. Most of us crave anonymity, and I’m no exception. Just so long as I’m left alone to get on with it, I’ll keep on cranking out a novel, roughly one a year, or every two years depending on the writing flow.

Most writers I know are reclusive by nature. We have to be. How else would we be able to write that book you’re hopefully enjoying at the moment? Unlike most other people, as writers, if we’re serious about what we do, we work an unpaid seven day week. We only get royalties when you buy a copy of one of our books.

So, the next time you’re in town, or taking a walk in your own neighbourhood, don’t just dismiss people out of hand by the way they look. Instead, see if you can spot your local writer.

Good luck.

  1. Avatar of Paula Shene
    Paula Shene says

    Yup. I don’t know if anymore of a comment is needed other than good article.

  2. Avatar of Joyce White
    Joyce White says

    Hi Jack. Great idea for an article. When I tell people I am a writer, they usually dismiss me as a loser. Writers are winners. We need time to think. That is what we do best. Joyce

    1. Avatar of Jack Eason
      Jack Eason says

      Exactly Joyce. I still amuses me when other people’s preconceptions of us are shattered. There is an old saying – Never judge a book by its cover. It definitely applies to people like you and I. lol 🙂

  3. Avatar of Andrew J. Sacks
    Andrew J. Sacks says

    Jack, your continuing focus on writing and writers is admirable!

  4. Avatar of Nancy Duci Denofio
    Nancy Duci Denofio says

    Jack, I never miss a tip or idea that comes from you. Sincerely, Nancy

  5. Avatar of Paula Boer
    Paula Boer says

    My outfit is also jeans and a t-shirt – I imagine people look down their noses at me when I go to town as I rarely bother to change and have probably just spent the last hour or two picking up horse poo, or am covered in dog hair, or maybe paint from working on the house.

    I have to be comfortable to write, and that means wearing clothes that are part of me, not for appearance. I guess we’ll recognise each other, Jack, when we bump into each other down the street! (Oh, and of course we have the advantage of seeing each other’s profile pictures on Angie’s Diary and Facebook.)

  6. Avatar of Joyce White
    Joyce White says

    We should all give tribute to Jackie Collins, a wonderful writer, who died recently. Since she was diagnosed with breast cancer, she continued writing five more books. So sad to die with all those words begging to be visual for others.

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