Sunday, 25 January 2009

And what do you do?

I read a post on a blog recently and read the comments that had been left. The name of one of those leaving a comment intrigued me so I clicked on their link to have a look at them. Next to occupation they had said "freelance writer." As I'm sure you all know you can click on that link too and it will take you to all the bloggers that describe themselves in that way. There are a lot of them.
I am getting to the point trust me.
It is this. When someone asks what you do do you say "freelance writer"? (Sorry, not sure where the ? should go. Think I might have put it in the wrong place.)
I appreciate that this is blogland and maybe they wouldn't describe themselves like that in the real world.
Anyway that's irrelevant really, my question is when someone asks what you do what do you say?
I'll get the ball rolling. I say "I work for (name of company ommitted for intrigue purposes)." But then, my own mother doesn't know that I write so why would I tell a complete stranger?
Just a thought.


Mummy said...

I find it hard to tell people what I do too.....I find the broadcasting bit easier to explain but, for some reason, I end up blathering about nothing when it comes to my writing. I make it sound confusing when it isn't. I have no idea why!

Gonna be a writer said...

I don't tell people because basically it's something that I'm doing for me at the moment.

Suzanne said...

I always say self -employed book-keeper (true, unfortunately) which kills the conversation stone dead.

However, if I get anything published - and I seriously mean ANYTHING - I'll tell my friends and family and sit back to receive congratulations. (Am not convinced that they don't think I'm a total saddo for doing this, but it makes me happy, so I don't care.)

But no, I would never, ever describe myself as a writer. And I wonder how many times I would need to be published to have the confidence to do this.

Calistro said...

It's weird - when people ask me what I do for a living I automatically tell them my day job, and don't mention the writing.

A couple of times though, more recently, I've said "I a [job title] and a writer" - people automatically focus on the second job and say "OOoh, what do you write?" I think it really depends who I'm talking to, sometimes I just can't be arsed to talk about my novels!

Gonna be a writer said...

Maybe if I had a published book to talk about I'd mention it sometimes. I think I'm like you Suzanne (in more ways than one) I need to have more published before I consider myself a writer. The other way I;m like you is that I was a book keeper in a previous life and yes it does kill a conversation.

Jan Mader said...

Trust me, if you want to be a writer, you can be. I'm a children's author and new to blogging.

Since I'm looking for people to share my interest, I stopped by your blog. Please come visit me!

HelenMHunt said...

Sometimes I'm glad that I have a 'proper sounding' day job, so I can use that if I don't want to talk about the writing. I only tell people I trust that I write.

Gonna be a writer said...

I know what you mean Helen but these days sometimes we're just glad to have a day job.
jan, welcome to my blog and blogland in general. I'm popping over to your place as soon as I've finished here.

Anonymous said...

Someone once asked me that question a few years ago, when I was a software developer. My answer, somewhat sadly, was rather more long-winded than just "software developer". This person's response was meant to be scathing, and was something like...

"Oh my god, you're, like, one of those nerdy geeks who never goes out and just stares at a computer screen all day long. No fashion sense and never gets a girlfriend. I bet you even watch Star Trek, don't you? I bet you just play computer games all the time."

My answer, after hearing that and not feeling inclined to waste energy on this person, was a deadpan: "Yes."

There was silence, as the person clearly expected an argument and didn't get one.

"And I get paid for being a geek," I added.

These days there is a similar question that fills me with dread. It's not "what do you do?" but "what's your book about?" Perhaps another loaded/tricky one is "why aren't you published yet". Obviously these are questions from non-writers.

For the record, I don't classify myself as a writer. My answer to "what do you do?" these days is "unemployed".

And finally, your question mark is in the right place. The question is: what do you do? The quoted answer is "freelance writer", i.e. not a question. Therefore the question mark goes outside the quotes. Sorry, was that too geeky?

KAREN said...

It's funny because I've got 'part time library assistant and writer' on my blog, but I rarely say the "writer" bit to people. When I have done in the past, the questions start flooding in (have you been published, what do you write, what's it about?) etc, and I've decided I'd rather not try and explain to people who don't write, if that makes sense, because unless you've published a bestselling novel, you can tell they don't think it counts! So that's when I'll call myself a writer in public :o) (ie - never!)

Jan Mader said...

I'm so glad you came by my blog. I want writers, as well as teachers and parents. Writing is a sensational journey. It's an awesome way to communicate.

Some of the writers I work with have been published over and over again. Some are new to the process. Some never care about being published, they just love to write. At any rate, please share my blog with other writers. We all share the same passion...what a great one it is!

Sandy said...

So many people free lance in various capacities, writing, crafting, etc. I think it's becoming more and more common to hear someone say their freelance x y z.

I enjoy blog walking, so often I do exactly as you stated. I read the blog, and almost always (unless their way to many to read), read the comments. It's very typical when time permits for me to visit one or two of the people who left comments that were interesting, sometimes in agreement with my view sometimes the opposite. It makes blogging so much more fun.

I've never understood the people who come, look, visit; but leave no comments. Whats the point. It's suppose to be interactive. We all post in hopes that someone else reads it, you don't know it's been read if people don't leave a comment.

Good luck with your quest. What do you like to write about?

Do come by for a visit, the welcome mats always out.

Sandy said...

Forgot to ask, what kind of cake are we having? And can I have ice cream with mine. lol


Annie Wicking said...

I think everyone knows I write because I like to spread the word. Not only that most people at work see me writing in my works breaks and at home the number of neighbours who tell me, "I saw your light on early this morning and guessed you were busy writing."

Am I obsessed, no not

best wishes,

P.s Back to the writing.... now where was I...

Gonna be a writer said...

Captain I wouldn't call it geeky I'd call it knowledgeable. I wasn't sure where the ? went and you did. Thanks for explaining it, it made sense when you put it like that. Thanks.
Karen I think you are completely right. People that don't write don't get it when you don't have a book published. If you're not a best selling author then you're not an author.
Good luck with your mission to ignite the passion in others Jan. I think that you've set ourself a challange.
I'm going to pop over to your blog as soon as I've finished here Sandy and I'm sure I'll find something to comment about. As for cake - carrot I think.
I wouldn't worry Annie, there are worse obsessions to have.
Thanks everyone for commenting.