Writers: Theyâ€™re glamorous, mysterious, creative, passionate, fearless word warriors whose pens are mightier than any sword.
And sometimes thatâ€™s true.
More often, though, theyâ€™re more like angry tramps who live in bins.
Like any supposedly glamorous industry, writing is a lot less fancy than you might imagine â€“ and writers are a lot less exciting in real life too.
Here are a dozen reasons not to look for love in a library, or for the man or woman behind the words.
1. Theyâ€™re always broke
For every JK Rowling there are thousands of writers hammering away on computer keyboards and bringing in no money whatsoever.
2. They work weird hours
Good writing doesnâ€™t follow a timetable, and inspiration often strikes at unsociable times.
3. They procrastinate
Another reason for weird hours: we put everything off to the last-minute.
â€˜I love deadlines,â€™ the late, great Douglas Adams wrote. â€˜I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.â€™
Give us a month to do a job and weâ€™ll start it the night before deadline.
4. Theyâ€™re often working two jobs
The same EU report that found writers were skint also found that only half of authors said that writing was their main source of income.
The other half fitted writing around the day or night job.
5. They are emotional rollercoasters
Few people oscillate as dramatically between euphoria and despair as writers.
Weâ€™re either worrying about being too busy or not busy enough, feeling mighty or mediocre, praising our rivals or sticking pins in voodoo dolls of them.
6. Theyâ€™re a pain in the arse
Not all writers, no. But some writers take themselves, their art or their suffering a little bit too seriously, and that can make them crashing bores to be around.
7. Theyâ€™re always in the kitchen at parties
Many writers are like vampires, spending their time locked away from people and sunlight â€“ and like vampires, when they do go out, things often get messy.
Neck biting is thankfully rare, but many writers are very shy. Some of us overcompensate by going a bit manic when given the chance to talk about a pet subject.
8. They wonâ€™t let you read their stuff and then they force you to
Writers are very precious about their works in progress, and hell mend anyone who sneaks a peak before theyâ€™re ready.
But when they are ready, theyâ€™ll chase you around the flat, demanding you read their masterpiece right now.
9. They donâ€™t like criticism
â€˜Tell me what you think!â€™ doesnâ€™t mean tell them what you think. It means tell them what they want to hear.
Otherwise, prepare for the mother of all sulks.
10. They drink paint
Oh, they might be a craft beer-sipping hipster today. Give them a few years of constant rejection and self-doubt and theyâ€™ll be necking entire bottles of Jack before breakfast.
11. They might write about you
Writers are often advised to write about what they know, and that might be you.
Not everybody wants to see themselves in print, no matter how flattering.
12. They might not write about you
Whatâ€™s worse than seeing yourself in print? Seeing someone else you think you know praised in print.