What People Think When You Tell Them You're a Writer

Being a writer is the best. You get to do what you love, you can express yourself in ways others can’t and people always ask for your book recommendations. But being a writer is also the worst. It’s emotionally taxing, it can be isolating, and people always ask for your book recommendations. The worst part about writing, though, is the assumptions people make about what you do. Here are a few of them.

But, like…what does she really do?

“But do you have another job?” asks everyone. Writing, like any arts-related profession, is always seen more as a nighttime and weekend hobby than a true vocation, and that’s just not true. Sure, I have other jobs to supplement my writing — temping, administrative work, and odd jobs here and there — but alphabetizing and copying isn’t what I really do. I’m not writing to support my dream of temping, thanks.

She must be broke.

That’s true! I am broke, but that’s partially because of student loans and an expensive taste in shampoos. But a lot of writers aren’t broke and make a decent living from writing, and that’s why asking if I have a real job is somewhat offensive. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to take my $15 bottle of MoroccanOil to the cash register.

She’ll probably want to write for me…

I do! Writing is absolutely a muscle that needs to be stretched. How many words and when do you want it by?

…and she’ll probably do it for free! She’ll love the exposure!

Let's try that one again, because... no!

She probably is writing a book and it’s probably horrible and she’ll probably ask me to read her manuscript.

I’m not, but screw you! I’d write a great book!

If she loves me or hates me enough, she’ll put me in something she writes.

Definitely I will. You should neither love nor hate me, if you don’t want loose details of your life or of our relationship slowly revealed. Best to be totally “eh” about me.

Shakespeare? She loves the guy.

No, thank you.

She must be really sensitive and her hands must be covered in ink.

I am. That ink comment hurt my feelings.

Oh, she must get to work from home — how lucky.

Working from home is mostly great: I get to watch Wendy Williams when I do my work; my schedule is generally flexible; and there’s always someone home to let the plumber in. But those reasons are also why working from home is tough: the distractions are so high; my flexible schedule makes me more prone to weird sleep cycles and procrastination; and being the one to always let the plumber in makes me feel like a housewife.

A writer? How cool!

Thank you! Sometimes there are days when I’ll spend hours working on just one sentence and I’ll want to bang my head against a wall, but I can’t imagine doing anything else and liking it more.

Image: DragonImages/Fotolia