What It’s Like Being A Writer

Okay, you know how Muggles don’t get what it’s like being a wizard? And how crazy people don’t know what it’s like being sane and sane people don’t know what it’s like being crazy?

Those who are not writers do not know what it’s like to be a writer. Ask someone who is not infected with the Authorial Virus (Types A through G) what a writer does and you’ll probably get a blank stare. Then that person will noodle it and shrug and say, “He sits up there in his room with his My Little Ponies, pooping fairy tales out of his fingertips for ten minutes. Then he masturbates and talks to people on Twitter.”

Masturbate? Well, fine. Everybody’s got a lunch hour, and it doesn’t take me 60 minutes to eat a damn sandwich. Nothing wrong with exploring my own body with various textures and food products. As for Twitter? Hey, you go and mill around the water cooler like a bunch of thirsty water bison, and I go and mill around Twitter like a digital version of the same.

But I do not defecate fairy tales out of my fingertips. If only the act of writing was quite so simple as all that.

(And, by the way, leave my ponies out of it. They didn’t do anything to you.)

Point being, it’s time to take this big callused toe of mine and drag it across the sand. There, then, is the line. On this side is me, the penmonkey. On that side is you, the… I dunno. Pen-muggle. Shut up.

What I’m trying to say is, this is what it means to be a writer. Got people in your life who just don’t grok the trials and tribulations of the everyday word-chucker? Show them this.

I Swear On The Life Of Word Jesus, It’s Actually Work

This one sucks because you know what? I get it. I’ve tried explaining to people what I do, and at no point does it sound like work. “Uhh, well, I wake up at 6AM and I get my coffee and then I get in front of the computer and I… make stuff up… and then I try to convince people to buy the things I just… made up.” It sounds like the world’s biggest scam and explains why so many people want to be writers.

I might as well have said, “I sit out in a sunlit meadow and play Candyland with a bunch of puppies.”

Let’s just clear this one up right now:

Writing is work. It’s not back-breaking labor, no — though, by now I probably do have scoliosis (and a Deep-Vein Thrombosis whose clot-bullet will probably detonate in my brain) — but it is mind-breaking just the same. I can sit here for hours metaphorically head-butting the computer monitor until this story — or article, or blog-post, or sex-toy instruction manual — bleeds out across the screen. And then I have to keep fucking with it, keep hacking it apart and juicing my skull-meats until it all makes sense. Everything else is emails and spreadsheets and outlines and porn and shame and homelessness.

Am I doing work on par with fire fighters or soldiers? Fuuuuu-huuuu-huuuck no. But neither are you, Mister Cubicle Monkey. Or you, Target clerk. So. You know. Hush up.

All I’m saying is, no, I don’t need a “real job” because I already have one.

I Promise You, We’re Actually Accomplishing Something

Someone might ask, “Oh, what do you write?”

So, you tell them.

“Can I read it somewhere?”

You tell them, no, you can’t. It hasn’t sold yet. Or it’s in production. Or it’s headed toward publication. Or you have an agent but no publication. Or it’ll post to the web in three months. Or it’ll hit shelves in a year.

Or, or, or.

And then you get that look. The nod. The polite smile.

What they’re saying is:

“You go up into your room, you hide yourself away for hours every day, hunkering down over your computer until your spine crackles and your fingers buckle from carpal tunnel, and you stare at that screen and write word after word after word, and you have… nothing to show for it? Nothing at all?”

Well. Uhh. Sorta.

Just the same, it makes us want to kick you in the snack drawer.

The Two Reactions

I tell someone I’m a writer, I get one of the following two reactions. Ready? Here goes.

Number One: “Oh. A writer. Uh-huh. Well, that’s great.” They blink and offer a kind of dismissive or incredulous smile, as if I just told them I was a cowboy or a space marine. Occasionally there exists a follow-up question. “So, you write, like, what? Books?” And that word — books — is enunciated as if it’s a mythical creature, like they’re asking me if I spend all day tracking Bigfoot by his scat patterns. Another follow-up question is, “Like Stephen King?” (Or, insert some other famous writer — possibly the only writer this person has ever heard of.) Yes. Just like Stephen King. I write horror novels about Maine and sometimes stop to roll around in big piles of cash.

Subtext to this is: That’s precious. A writer! Adorable. So, what’s your real job, again? Some thick-headed dick-mops actually possess enough gall to ask that question. “Yeah, but what do you do for money?”

Number Two: “OH NO WAY A WRITER?” Their eyes light up. Their mouth slackens. They act like they’re encountering… I dunno, a celebrity, or someone who broke through the fence and now runs free with the other ponies. “It must be so great,” they might say, as if it’s really awesome not being sure where your money will come from next or how you’re going to pay for that appendectomy you’ve technically needed for the last four years.

That one has some follow-ups, too. First, again, “Oh, like Stephen King?”

Second is, “OMG I’M A WRITER TOO.” They almost never are. My neighbor hit me with that one when we lived at our last house. Regaling me of tales of her One Novel that she never actually finished because She Has To Wait For Just The Right Mood. “My kids always know when inspiration has struck because I have to pull over to the side of the road and get in the zone and just start writing.” Yeah, because that’s how it works. I pay my mortgage with one unfinished novel. Turns out, you can bank inspiration and collect interest. That’s how I’m going to pay for my appendectomy! With the sweet wampum of inspirado.

Do any other careers earn this reaction? “OMG I’M AN ACCOUNTANT TOO. I sit at home and budget out how much money I have for weed and Doritos. And when inspiration strikes, I balance my checkbook.”

“OMG I’M A CHEF TOO, I just microwaved a can of Beefaroni.”

“OMG I’M AN ASTRONAUT TOO I totally just climbed a tree and looked at the moon.”

Don’t get me wrong, I like the second reaction over the first, but both are dismissive and misinformed.

Know this, non-writers: no, we’re not special, but we’re also not big dough-brained children, either. Put us somewhere in the middle between “jobless trilobite” and “second coming of Stephen King.”

We Try Very Hard To Be Normal

When writers dwell in their element — usually meaning with other writers or other creative-types — you can sense it. The freak flag flies up the pole. The whiskey comes out. The inappropriate jokes fly.

We laugh. We cry. We commiserate.

But when we’re amongst the, ehhh, ahem, pen-muggles, sometimes it feels like walking on unsteady ground. Like we’re going to be found out. Like eventually they’re going to snap their fingers and say, “Ahh, right, right. You just sit around in your underwear and tell stories to yourself, don’t you? I get it now.” Because that’s the vibe you get from some people. From family, from acquaintances, from those nearby.

A writer lives there,” they may say in hushed whisper.

I’ve had this with other neighbors. You meet them for the first time, they say, “Oh, I sell cars, what do you do?” And you tell them. And the inevitable question is, “Oh, what do you write?” And the answer is, well, uhh, I write about vampires and zombies and goblins and psychic girls and corn-punks and monkey sex and I have a blog where I curse a lot and I also write games and books and…

By that point, they’re probably pulling their children closer. Hugging them to their hip. Just in case I decide to go all vampire-zombie-goblin on them. Just in case I’m some kind of serial killer.

And I want to say I’m not, but it’d be a half-hearted denial. After all, in my mind and on the page I’m constantly thinking of ways to torment and eventually execute characters. Which leads to…

Weird Shit Goes Through Our Head In A Swiftly-Moving, Never-Stopping Stream

I am ever lost in the fog of my own imagination. I don’t mean to suggest that this is what it takes to be a writer — after all, that fog of imagination is about as tangible and real as a pegasus fart. Just the same, I remain lost there for six minutes out of every ten, the grinder constantly turning, the gear-teeth chewing my mind-meat into usable ground brain-beef.

I need you to know that, non-writer, so when you ask me a question — “Would you like fries with that? Do you want us to change your brake pads? Did you take out the trash? Did you realize that the house is presently on fire?” — it explains the unfocused gaze, the faint moving of the lips where no sound comes out, the chewing of the inner cheek. It’s not just me being an idiot. I’m merely thinking of how to properly execute an invasion of New York City from the Hollow Earth, or trying to imagine the best way for a character to escape an undying serial killer, or pondering what happens when true love turns to bitter rage on a distant Saturnian mining colony.

It’s why my response to your question is usually a mumbled, “Wuzza?”

This is why writers must try very hard to live strong external lives.

Otherwise, we’d turtle inward, living only the myriad lives inside our own heads.

Here, Then, Is Your Soapbox

Sound off, authorial types. Let’s say you’re talking to a non-writer. What do you want them to know about being you? About being a writer with all your crazy writer ways? Scream it so the cheap seats can hear.

* * *

Want another booze-soaked, profanity-laden shotgun blast of dubious writing advice?


$4.99 at Amazon (US), Amazon (UK), B&N, PDF


$0.99 at Amazon (US), Amazon (UK), B&N, PDF


  • Nice!

    My day job is at a college, where I get to hear about the Ivory Tower trials and tribulations of academic articles, presentations, and posters they have made and count as works of scholarly acumen.

    Once, someone was explaining to me, in small words so I could understand, the rigors of writing and editing for an academic journal, to which I replied, “You don’t need to expalin. I’m a published writer.” Their eyebrows went up, the patches on the elbows were planted on the desk, “Really? What do you write?” I figured I would dodge the snobbery and avoid discussing mad prophets, samurai fighter pilots, and planet devouring beasts, so I answered, “Fiction.”

    From the look on their face, I would have thought I was watching one of those 2 Girls 1 cup reaction clips on YouTube. The good part is they haven’t bothered me about “this memoir I’m working on.” Yet.

  • Yeah, I get a lot of this crap, too. I’ve had people tell me what I should write about and what’s currently “hot” (as if that means anything). I’ve also had people slightly berate me about not getting a novel published yet. Like it’s that easy! Like it doesn’t take hours and hours of work to get my mess of drafts to look like something even close to a novel. And my favorite, recently I was asked, “So what do you want to write, short stories or novels or what?” And I didn’t know how to answer. What do I *want* to write? I already write, dammit! The assumption was that I was waiting for some magical moment to become a writer. Ughhh.

  • Within two or three times of meeting a person and establishing that I write with the intention of being published, I get the inevitable “So tell me a story!”

    I HATE that.

  • What I really love is when I get that glazed over, staring absently into space look in my eye and my husband nudges me and says “What are you thinking about?”

    Haha. Really? Do you REALLY want to know? Because I just figured out how my villain is going to get away with killing someone. Or I just thought of an oh so creepy and perfect thing my stalker can do.

    Yet when I respond with the mundane “nothing” he actually looks worried.

  • You are hilarious! You talk like I think. I just haven’t got the balls to put it in writing. Could I find the ovaries to write that way?? No, that doesn’t sound right….
    I have gotten those same reactions especially since I started writing a non-fiction/humor book first. Of course the publishing world has blown up and we all need “a following,” hence the blog…I can relate to the blank dull stare, not really seeing what is in front of me, the dishes piled up in the sink, and still wearing pajama pants at 6:00 at night. My husband has often looked in the fridge for anything he can nibble on for dinner. And then I think. Whoa! I forgot to eat today!!!
    Great post!!

  • Great post. I think many writers write to get the demons out and because they love it.

    “OH! So you write novels! Where are they?” I hand them a business card. This works great and cuts down on the crap.
    “Listen. I’ve got this great story that I think you should write!”
    I try to be nice– I am a nice guy. “I’ve got so many stories in my head it will be years before I could get to it. Here’s an idea. Why don’t you try to write it! It’s easy– just sit down for 10 hurs a day, for say 3 months and the next thing you know you’re rich.” I say this with a wry grin.

  • I couldn’t help myself but write something along this line, I am no Chuck Wendig, but thanks for the inspiration. It was worth not only reading your post, but having my own musings about it.
    I think one of the best way to describe what writers do is that we take those jewels of ideas or even crappy ideas that streamline your brain and decide to put them on paper for everyone to look at so some can say whether they find them ugly or pretty. It sounds easy, but some people rather shoot themselves before they let anyone know what they really are thinking about.

  • All I really have going for me is this: To be a writer–that is a state of mind. No, I’m not published. But I write. Isn’t that enough to call yourself a writer? I aspire to be published. On occasion I make an effort toward that end.
    When I did stand up, I never called myself a comic. Of course, no one else did either. I’ve been a restaurant manager, a pizza driver, and other things like that. Gotta pay the bills. In between, I write. On my day job now–I couldn’t really explain what I do.
    But I always say that I want to be a writer when I grow up. On the back end of my forties now, I just hope I’m not running out of time.

  • My wife gets the same kind of reaction because she’s the Literacy Outreach Coordinator (read: PR and Programming Coordinator) at a public library. She tells people she works there, and she constantly gets “Oh, that has to be lovely. I just LOVE to read.” Yeah, because all she does is sit around reading all day and talking about books.

    I’m a college English teacher, that’s what I get to do all day! I kid.

    I had an ex-girlfriend a few years back who got mad at me for working on my Master’s in English and not having a full-time salaried job. She told me, and I quote, “All you do all day long is sit on your ass and read.” Oh, ignorance, thy name is…I’ll be nice.

    Anyway, I’m with Cassandra up top. I tell people I’m an English prof first, then I sneak in that I’m a writer.

  • I still have trouble telling people I’m a writer. Actually, when people ask what I do, I usually tell them whatever my current soul-sucking day job is (presently: waitress) out of habit. But when I do tell them…

    First, “Anything I’d know?” This question is pretty much inevitable. And I hate it because I know, at this point, the answer is no.

    After that, I get the follow-up reaction.

    Pleasantly, a lot of people seem to have the That’s Amazing reaction, where they tell me they could never write and that they’re fascinated by people who can, then proceed to ask me a million questions about my writing, my process, my whateverelsetheycanthinkof – which I am only too happy to answer. These people usually insist that I’ll be famous soon, too, which I like, even if it is a baseless assertion.

    Almost as many people (possibly more and I just trick myself into mentally fudging the numbers a little) have the Stunned Silence and Change the Subject reaction, where they say “Oh,” or “Ah,” or contrive to make an even less committal noise, then start talking about their cold or their dog or the exhaust pipe they need to have fixed on their car. It always makes me feel a little judged.

    But the reactions from strangers are fine, either way, because you can take the good and ignore the bad. What I really hate is when you tell family and friends that yes, writing is going to be your career, and you get the Fall Back reaction, where they patronize you and subtly (if you’re lucky it’s subtle) drop hints that while writing for a living would be *great*, it would be better/smarter/more responsible to start another career, since in all liklihood, this one is going to crash and burn and you should have something to “fall back on” if (read: when) that happens.

  • I got a link to this post from my publisher-to-be (Yeah, I’m a writer, too, just like Stephen King) with a note of warning, but did I listen? Nuuoooo … So I now find myself sitting at work with spittle, kanelbolle (Norwegian variety of donut) and coffee dripping down my screen and splattered across my keyboard. I think I might have boled – Barked Out Loud. Luckily it was my lunch break, and anti-social penmonkey (keyboard monkey?) that I am, I was more or less alone, furtively printing out manuscript copies while my boss is away from the printer. Christ, I hope she doesn’t read this. As if.

    So the first thing I did after wiping down the screen (okay, I haven’t actually done that yet, but I probably will before I go home) was to nip over to the Totally Free Shit section of the blog. Oh yeah, more food for the starving. I can’t wait. And there are books coming, too. Thank you Odin, I am not alone in the universe after all.


  • I write crime drama for TV, and once attended a conference for forensic pathologists – most of whom (including my brother) were very kind and helpful. But when the third one expected me to applaud when telling me he/she intended to write crime fiction when they retired, I couldn’t resist responding with: ‘What a coincidence! I’m aiming to be a forensic pathologist when I retire!’ Oddly enough, these particular individuals were deeply insulted, and felt the need to remind me that it had taken them years of training and experience to become a …

  • God, reading all these comments is so cathartic. My latest pet peeve is that when I tell people I’m a writer who publishes her own ebooks, they react in two ways:

    “Oh, so you don’t write actual books?”


    “Oh, did you read that news story about that girl who makes millions writing ebooks? So, are you a millionaire too?”

    Rrrrrrr. Not that I don’t wish Amanda Hocking all the best, because I do. But jeez, people.

  • I’m pretty sure it’s easier to get away with this if you actually make some kind of money from it. Otherwise, it’s just a silly hobby that keeps you from washing the dishes and folding the laundry.

  • My fave after the, “Can I buy anything you’ve written (which is actually a nice response) is the:

    “Ooohhh, you’re a writer? I have a story I’ve always wanted to write. But I don’t have time. Maybe you can write it for me.”

    “Are you serious. [like I don’t have to scrape up time to get my OWN stuff on the page…never mind yours]. Because if you are, you need a ghostwriter and I know a few I can refer you too.”

    [Suspicious look] “Would I have to pay them? I’d rather just split the royalties.”

    It would take me too long to delve into all the ways the above is an atrocious conversation. And I’ve propably had it 6-7 times!

  • I actually live in Maine so when I talk to people and tell them where I’m from along with the fact that I’m a writer, they immediately ask if I know Stephen King personally. I have to explain that, yeah, him and I meet every Sunday to drink coffee and discuss writing, love, and life. ..How about no. I met him once when I was like nine. That’s it. He came to our school to do some speech thing – I don’t even know.

  • If anyone asks, I tell them I’m an astronaut. The disbelief is the same as if I’d said ‘writer’ but they understand what an astronaut does. And we can then move swiftly on to discuss NASA budget cuts…

  • Most common response I get is, “Yeah, I have this great idea for/started a/do you want to read my novel?” No. No, I don’t. I see enough schlock splashed across the screens, and I know what a zero draft is, and I don’t want to read yours. I really want to shake the folks that actually are good writers, but don’t work much on it because they’re “waiting for inspiration.” It’s automatic, now, the response:
    If you wait for inspiration, you’ll wait forever.
    Then there’s this: My adorable grandmother.
    GM: Did you finish that book?
    Me: Yeah. More or less. I still need to –
    GM: Is there an audio version?
    Me: What?
    GM: Is it published? I want it on audio.
    Me: Um…
    GM: Send me a copy.
    Me: That isn’t… that’s not how it works.

  • Favorite discussion about my writing process with a very supportive friend:

    Friend: That’s so unfair. You’re a writer.
    Me: Yeah. So?
    Friend: You’re an artist. No one cares if you wake up one morning hearing two people argue in your head.
    Me (internally): Yeah but I don’t TELL everyone I hear people arguing in my head – people that DON’T EXIST OUTSIDE OF MY HEAD. Do you know the looks I’d get?
    Me (externally): Uhuh.
    Friend: I’m not a writer.
    Me: Yeah. So?
    Friend: So when I wake up hearing people argue inside my head, I’m just bat-shit crazy.

  • Thank you for this! I’m in nearly complete isolation when it comes to the writing thing. My lovely friends support me and say that I’m the next Stephenie Meyer or J.K. Rowling. Bless them. They don’t try to leave the room or find some escape when I tell them I was distracted and could they please repeat what they just said because the characters in my head were saying something more interesting.

    I usually don’t tell people I’m a writer. It feels like admitting something shameful. I don’t know why that is, but whenever it comes up, my palms get sweaty and my heart pounds. God, it’s like I’m comfessing I committed a crime and am hiding a body in my basement. I have told a few people, just to see the reaction, and I did have a woman who told me she wrote a children’s book. I was like, yeah, I don’t know anything about that. It’s not my market. She started grilling me on publishing advice and I was like, um, Google it like I did. Read Publishers Market. It irritates me that people like the IDEA of being a writer, but aren’t willing to put in any work, you know, actually writing or researching.

    I think the majority of people think that writing a book is some mystical magical thing. Like you sit in this room with a typewriter and drink tons of coffee and are fueled by this muse that won’t let you rest until you get all the words on the page. Then you send it to a publisher, and bam, it’s a book. People just assume that you write words and thats the end. Uh, ever heard of revising? Copy editing? Line edits? Multiple drafts? That’s what I thought.

  • I’m a humanitarian aid worker. And the responses I get are almost the same and always always, fucking ALWAYS every bit as dumbass.

    “OMG, YOU’RE A HUMANITARIAN WORKER?!?!?!? ME TOO!!! I volunteered to spend 4.5 days singing Sunday School songs for AIDS orphans in Bali…”

    I’m also a writer. Okay, *blogger* (almost as mysterious and cool). And get the same shit from other aid workers.

    “Well, we’re too busy *working* to write…”



    When my family hears me complaining about not getting paid for six months after contract acceptance and then years after publication, they think I’m such a whiner. Oh really–do any of them have to wait for up to a year to be paid for work they’ve already done and not have a clue how much they will be paid in the long run?

    One novelist I know opened his keynote speech by saying, “If you can quit writing, you probably should.”

    He’s probably right. But as you pointed out, real writers have this little problem of plots and characters romping around in our heads. I’ve been known to burst into laughter at totally inappropriate times because I was imagining a funny scene, when physically being present during a boring conversation.

    Thanks for exposing everyone to the real life of real writers!

  • Great post. Thanks for the laughs. Until self-publishing in March I stopped telling people I was a writer.

    What do you write?
    ME: Romance.
    ME: No, it’s not porn or all about sex. I write about two people falling in love.
    Yeah. Great. Where can I buy your books?
    ME: I’m not published…not yet.
    Ah, well, I think you should write a book about your mom. She’s funny and quirky. Or how about your life story…you know with all those crazy sisters of yours and your quirky mom your book would be a bestseller.
    ME: Thanks. You’re probably right. Good idea.
    It’s a great idea. It’ll be a bestseller and you can give me 50% of all that $ you’re going to rake in.

  • I very much enjoyed this post, especially the part where my head is somewhere else, dreaming up ways a turtle the size of planet could best a wizard at chess.

    What I want to tell people is it’s hard, and it takes time and dedication, and I envy those professional writers who seem to be able to crank out a book a year like clockwork. My first novel has taken three years, two years writing, one year editing, and you know what? That wasn’t enough time. It’s a first book so there are problems, but goddamnit I have to stop sometime and start on the next, right?

    “I want to be a writer too!” then sit down and start writing! It’s not like a 77,000 word novel leaped out of my head over the course of an afternoon. And the worst part? Going back and cutting the throats of clever shit that doesn’t help the book.

    Anyway, love your blog!

  • My third favorite response is “If I had the time, I’d be a writer, too.” As though lack of anything interesting in one’s life is a prerequisite for being a writer.

    My second favorite response is: “Ooo, Ooo. I’ve got this great idea you can use…” Usually followed by what they think should have happened on their favorite TV show, their latest RPG adventure, or something they don’t remember they saw at the movies last year.

    My favorite can only be uttered by my brother, an English and Lit professor at an east coast university: “Still writing science fiction and mysteries? When are you going to get serious and DO something with your craft?”

  • I can’t win either way

    I’m a carer for the elderly. If I admit this I get horrified looks and hushed whispers: “Oh, I could never do that! Do you have to wash them? Do you wipe their bums?” or “What do you do if they vomit?” Then the conversation quickly turns to another subject punctuated by revolted and/or awed looks.

    If I admit I’m a writer I usually get a really interest response until I say I write Fantasy, Speculative Fiction and Steampunk. Noone outside of our world knows what Spec fic or steampunk is, which leads to long explainations that result in them saying, “Oh. why do you want to write about that?” or “Cool” in a tone which indicates they don’t want to talk about it any more. If they pick up on the fantasy thing they say, “What with magic and stuff? Like Lord of the RIngs or Harry Potter?” or look at me oddly, because if you want to be a writer that’s fine, but why would you bother writing something weird like that?


  • I was taken more seriously when I wrote articles and reviews for a film magazine but now as a screenwriter I had someone introduce me by saying, “She writes screenplays as a HOBBY!” *sigh*

  • Person: “So, what do you write?”

    Me: “Generally, poetry. But I’m working on a novel.”

    Person: “Can I read it?”

    Me: “Well, no. I’ve already had a couple of readers go through it. Now it’s in the revision process, and I’m getting ready to pitch it to some agents and editors.”

    Person: “Oh, well I’m an editor (read: technical writer for a corporate entity; person who reads a lot; someone who took English at some point in high school and vaguely remembers the word ‘gerund,’) I could do that for you. Just let me know.”

    Me: *facepalm*

  • This was great! Thanks for that. I’d share it with my friends, but I don’t think they’d get it.

    I’ve just recently accepted my fate. I’m a writer and I can’t help myself. I tried to resist it for years. I was afraid of just these reactions. I believed I wasn’t creative enough. I “tried” to write, but I always felt like people were telling me that writing wasn’t as valuable as other things I could be doing. I just had a novel idea that took hold of me (can’t shake it loose) and I’ve already-in one week, written 30k words, well more than that, because I’ve been changing it as well. Probably upwards of 40-50 counting stuff I’ve written over.

    One thing I never got into, even though I tried, was the whole “NaNoWriMo” thing. I know a lot of people do that, but I’m sorry, I just think it’s all utter crap. As if 200k people during the month of November all suddenly embrace their passion for fiction writing. Riiiight.

    But I’m embracing the title Writer, no matter how many people look at me like I’m from outer space, because you gotta do what you gotta do. It’s a lot like being a stay at home mom, which I also am. “So what do you do?”
    “I’m a stay at home mom.”
    “So you sit around and eat bon-bons all day?”
    “No, I raise children and teach them. It’s sort of like being a school teacher or a nanny, except you don’t get paid and the hours suck.”

    But seriously, my job is the best job in the world. Hands down.

  • I was feeling down about my writing, and Googled “being a writer” and came across this post. Really enjoyed reading it, put a smile on my face. And the comments by visitors who’ve shared their experiences through the comments are pretty funny too. Thanks for sharing.

    To all the writers, all the best with your writing.

  • Okay, I’m not a real writer. I’m an aspiring penmonkey, but I spend most of my freetime writing. I’m still a high school student, so I can’t spend all my time doing that.

    The worst reaction is “Hey, can I read what you’re writing?” FUCK NO!!! You can wait until I’m done and if it gets published, which there is a remote chance of that, then you can pay for it just like everyone else.

    And people here think it’s a hobby. Heh, tell me that when I’m clicking away on the computer at 4 oclock in the morning. Tell me it’s a hobby then. Heh.

    Thanks for the post!

  • Conversation with a friend

    Friend: I think you should write my story because I’ve lived a very interesting life and a lot of things have happened to me that your readers could learn from.
    Me: I don’t write biographies.
    Friend: Still. Think about it, because we could make millions on my story. All we have to do is sit down and I’ll tell you all about my life, you make that it into a book and sell it to publishers. We can share the money 5//50.
    Me: I don’t write biographies.

  • Laughs all around. I was an attorney. Then I became very ill, i think largely because the stress of it all. I lost my practice, lost my license, everything. Now I’m living in my parent’s basement recovering.

    People ask me, “So when are you going to go back to practicing law?”

    To which I reply, “I probably won’t. It nearly killed me last time. I think I’ll try my hand at writing. I do card games and science fiction.”

    Fuckin’ crickets. Everytime.

  • This was awesome. Being a high school student, I don’t always have as much time as I’d like to dedicate to my writing, but for me it’s not so much the constant nagging about what I write because in some ways I just don’t like to tell people. Even after nearly six years, I know I’m not the greatest, and it seems that when I tell people, they either give me a strange look or ask to read my works. Since the only solid copies I have are the rough drafts (I write tidbits in notebooks and type them whn I’m done), they either get the messy notebooks that are completely out of order or a simple no. I love this though because several people have begun trying to talk me into writing nonsense, and it is quite annoying, absolutely.

  • I love the way you put this. It was beautifully written. And I can understand where you are coming from. Though I may only be 14, I too consider myself a writer. What do I write? Poetry. I have no explanations for my writings. They are simply creations of my insanity. Ive written about Alice destroying Wonderland and had to tell my boyfriend,(who knows about my insanity) that it was about the ending of childhood so he wouldnt continually question me about it. I love the way this describes a writer, I do aspire to be a pen-monkey when I “grow up”. I believe you have a new fan my dear sir.

  • If you’re not published yet, you SHOULD be, coz your writing is damn entertaining! Reminds me a bit of The Oatmeal comics but without the pictures. Er. Yeh. Anyway, it was interesting for a pen-muggle like me, to hear what it’s like from the pen-monkey angle, so thank you for sharing your artfully ariculated thoughts on the subject :)

  • You’re a writer if you enjoy writing. Whether you write once a month when you get a break from work or college classwork, or write for ten hours a day, writers are writers, just in varying degrees.

  • Good article. 2.5 years ago I commented on one of your posts (DON’T YOU REMEMBER, CHUCK?!) saying that FAKKIT, I’ll go full-time freelance.

    For 2.5+ years I’ve managed to support myself and my family via writing alone (first ghostwriting shit like you wouldn’t believe, then ads & video games).

    On March 8, after asking for the lowest-responsibility job with a regular paycheck like Kevin Spacey in American Beauty, I’m going to become a Customer Support agent … and write whatever the fuck I want. It’s a job. Yes. It can make money, yes. It makes good / relatively stable money if you’re prolific & with income easier to maintain the older (“more experienced”) you get.

    But fuck that, man.

    Answering phone calls is where it’s at.

    See you in space.

Speak Your Mind, Word-Nerds