This may well become an annual announcement but writers, you must, for the love of all that is holy, stop writing stories where the main characters are writers. I understand the appeal. You are, perhaps, writing what you know. You’re writers so you’re creating stories around the experience of being a writer. In recent memory we have read stories about writers hoping to be published, excited to have been published, writers who have entered contests and won contests. You have written stories about happy writers and miserable writers and lonely writers and desperate writers. Sometimes your writers have sex and it is awkward. Very often they drink, smoke, or use illegal substances. Some of these stories about writers have been satirical (but not) like when you pretend to be kidding but really you’re serious.
Your characters sent us a secret coded message. They want to pursue other career options. They want to put out fires or loaf about collecting unemployment. They want to be bicycle messengers and construction workers and engineers (either train or the other kind). They want to work as mechanics and office drones and nurses and doctors. They do not want to be writers. They are tired of being writers. Listen to your characters. They can do more, trust me.
When I say writer, by the way, I’m also saying poet. Oh how poets love to poem about poets. You write odes to poets and sonnets to poets and couplets to poets. Poets, poets, poets. We get it. You are poetic. And yet, a quatrain for violinist or a school teacher would be a refreshing change. Consider it, perhaps.
A corollary to this rule is that writing about teachers and students is also pretty uninteresting. We read approx. 24 stories a week about old professors who leer after young women (or when we’re lucky, men). We read about students being bored in class or studying for tests or wanting to become, you guessed it, writers. School is great but we don’t want to read about it. We work in schools and we are writers so when you’re submitting, imagine how sick of pizza you would be if you worked at Pizza Hut.
We still love you!