Thursday, January 13, 2011

I'm a Writer. No explanations necessary.

I surprised myself last weekend. I met someone new who asked what I did, and I said, with no hesitation, "I'm a writer." She said "Wow!" and our conversation continued down other paths. Normally, there would be follow-up questions, such as: "Who do you write for? What do you write? Might I have read any of it? What kind of money do you make?" Maybe it was the immediacy and self-assured tone of my answer, "I'm a writer," that cut off these questions before they began. I kind of doubt it. I think I just got lucky.

Still, it made me think about past conversations I've had where I try to somehow justify what I do to, often, perfect strangers when no justification is needed. I'd ramble on about how I used to write short stories (some of them are published, dear reader!), how I got a graduate degree, how I'm *mostly* a stay-at-home mom right now who has also written a novel. Has it been published? Nope. Have I made any money? Nope. I used to make money writing--press releases, newsletters, things like that. I used to teach part-time. I used to be a PR person AND a writer or a teacher AND a writer. Somehow, that AND made it legitimate.  The AND relegated writing to hobby status.

But there's something that makes some people uncomfortable when I treat my non-paid writing as I would a paid job. When I say I am not available during such and such times because I have paid dearly for a sitter so I can finish this scene. When I hole up in a friend's vacant house for a weekend to have 48 uninterrupted hours to straighten out a plot. In other words, when I treat writing like a "job," even though it isn't one yet, if by "job," you expect a "paycheck."

Amazing things happen when I treat writing like my job. I get things done. I have written (and yes, rewritten, 6 times or so) my first novel and I'm excitedly plotting a second. I would love to be considered legitimate by everyone's standards, not just my own, but until then, excuse me, I'm late for work.

No comments:

Post a Comment