3 Things a Writer Can Be Good At

I heard an anecdote a few years ago… it was actually about a well-known comics artist who is famous for never hitting deadlines. Yet he kept getting hired. “How”, it was asked, “Does he keep getting work if he never hands in work on time?”

The reply was that there are three qualities a writer can have that benefit an editor. You can be reliable, personable, and brilliant. But no-one is all three.

This particular artist was brilliant, there was no doubt. His style was so popular that it would not be an exaggeration to say that it had defined the era in comic book art. And the internet is full of accounts of how good a time is to be had with this fellow.

Dig deeper, though, and the answer is there. Sometimes the partying is at the expense of deadlines. The editor knows the work will sell, so they make exceptions; the fans are having fun, so they forgive lateness; but the bottom line is that this artist is not reliable. But they are personable and brilliant.

On the other hand, there are writers or artist you cant help thinking, “How do they keep working?” Well, the answer might be that they that although their work might be uninspiring, they’re reliable and nice to deal with. Just not brilliant.

The story as I was told it ended with the advice, “”If you are two of the three, you can probably make a career as a writer.” But that seems like cowardice to me.

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