I love Kristen Lamb's blog, and her latest post shows why. Witty and poignant, she talks about that most dreaded of questions: What do you do?
Although I have a day job, I consider myself a writer. Whenever I tell people that either their eyes glaze over with disinterest or their next question is: Are you published? Then I have to go through the whole song-and-dance of explaining that I'm an independent author. Usually -- and understandably! -- they don't have any idea what it means to be an independent author and occasionally, horror of horrors, they associate it with vanity publishing and look at me as though I've sprouted a third eye.
Suffice it to say that the question, "What do you do?" has begun to seem ever more unfriendly and I'm seriously considering replying: "I'm a gynecologist. You?" That should end the discussion pretty quickly!
In any case, here is Kristen Lamb's humorous defense of the profession:
I still remember the day I told my family I was leaving corporate sales to become a writer. I think what they heard was something akin to, “Leaving any feasible way to make a living and feed myself. Joining a cult. Kool-Aid.” Or something close to that.Read the rest of Kristen's post here.
If you are a writer, then you know we share this collective pain.
People ask, “So what do you do for a living?”
“I’m a writer.”
“No, I mean what do you really do? What’s your job?”
So, to repay you for your pain, here’s a laugh at our collective expense.
Top Ten Reasons to Become a Writer
10. Therapy is getting too expensive
When you become a writer, the first thing that becomes clear is that if you are at all interesting enough to be able to write good fiction, then you are seriously screwed up. As in years of expensive therapy screwed up. Writers are not normal.
So why not take all those notebooks filled with letters to your Inner Child and turn those babies into cold hard cash? I say, it is time for us to demand Inner Child Labor. Instead of letting that ungrateful punk float around in our limbic brain, it is high time we make the little twerp pull his weight.
Have anger issues coupled with violent fantasies? You are a born horror author.
Attend sex therapy to deal with a porn addiction? Erotica author.
Have “Mommy” issues? Memoir author.
9. Revenge, Duh
What better way to get back at that jerk who stood you up for the big dance? Or the toad who slept with your best friend? You got it. Become a writer. Surely you can think of a story that is in need of a pathetic cross-dressing hermaphrodite who gets killed by an inflatable doll. Slap the ex’s name on him. Just change the first letter of his last name. Heck, use your newfound power to help out your friends. Surely they can give you lists. Find a need for a character who has a tragically small penis or Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Become a writer and no one will cross you again lest they be found wearing hot pants while soliciting prostitution from sheep at the petting zoo in your next story. And hey, with the Internet, EVERYONE can be published.
8. High School Reunion Coming Up
So maybe you have done nothing with your life in the past 20 years. Who cares? All you have to do is find some out of print author and borrow his name for a bit. Hey, not like he is using it. Just tell those jerks you wanted to impress that you write under a pseudonym, and now you are “in between books.” Think of it this way, you can hold your head high that “you” accomplished something they never did, and, since you won’t have to see those jerks for another 5-10 years, no one will be the wiser. If you do get found out, it is just free publicity for the struggling dope you impersonated.
7. You drink a lot and it was either become a writer or attend AA
6. Can hang out with our friends somewhere other than the Renaissance festival
Renaissance festivals and Trekkie conventions can get expensive, especially when you work at the last Barnes and Noble left in your city. And while living with Mom does help off-set the cost of rent, World of Warcraft isn’t exactly free. Form a critique group with your pals and all vow to become famous writers. Hey, you still get to hang out and talk about elves and wizards and what you would do if you were a vampire, only now it is considered “work.”
5. Because what other job comes with a dress code of thrift store jeans and juvenile T-shirts?
Do you just love Superman, Mickey Mouse, or even Mr. T? I pity the fool! Feel like expressing yourself on 100% pre-shrunk cotton? Hey, if you were a 37 year old accountant or airline pilot, others might think that an entire wardrobe comprised of Xena, Firefly and Battlestar Galactica T-Shirts meant you were emotionally immature or “touched in the head.” Now that you’re a writer, you can be…eccentric. Hell, throw in a beret just to be extra annoying.
4. Because “writer” sounds so much more glamorous than “unemployed” or “Starbucks Hot Beverage Consultant”
Refer to Number 8.
3. Because it is the next best thing to having your own reality show.
Have a whacked out family or embarrassing habit? Write about it. The great thing is that now EVERYTHING is a tax write-off. Have an insatiable coffee, book and movie addiction? Then you are writer material. So go ahead and collect action figures, souvenir shot glasses and rare comic books. Do a “Tour of Pubs” and get plastered as you sample every beer under the sun. Or take that trip to Texas and ride the mechanical bull at Billy Bob’s. Just make sure you write about it, and then it is all deductable “research”…and the pictures your so-called friends post on their Facebook page of you being hauled away for Drunk and Disorderly Conduct are less “mortally embarrassing” and more “priceless promotion.” Just make sure you ask Denny’s for a receipt before they throw you out.
2. Because your family told you that you should be a doctor.
Don’t get along with your parents? Hey, go big or go home. What better way to insure your status as black sheep of the family than announce that you are giving up everything to become a writer? Short of announcing that you just converted to Scientology or that you sold all your stuff and are moving to a commune in New Mexico, telling the folks that you want to be a writer is guaranteed to make you the definitive pariah. And the plus side is that there is no studying chemistry or staying up all night to memorize Kreb’s Cycle. Just think of it this way, they will forgive you once you’re published anyway.
1. Because you can be….GOD!
Yeah, now you get a glimpse of how it feels to be the Big Guy. What other job, short of an IRS agent or a meter maid gives the raw power of being able to make or destroy lives with ….a pen?
Did I miss something? Do you guys have a reason you would like to add? Put it in the comments! Just think of this as group therapy without the privacy :D . What’s your favorite of the top ten posted? Can you relate? Share and we promise to laugh at yo-….um, be compassionate and supportive.