With me being a lazy vacationing writer, I'm glad to have Jenny Rough as today's guest blogger. I admire Jenny for her ability to reinvent – and firmly establish -- herself as a freelance writer in a few short years. She's witty, smart and has an interestingly varied background and clip file.
Please welcome Jenny Rough.
Hi, Lisa Romeo’s blog readers. It’s great to be visiting here today. I feel like I’m posting on an official “writing” blog. On my own blog (Roughly Speaking), I try to stick to the topic of the writing life, but too often I tend to veer off on irrelevant subjects like my love for Los Angeles or issues with fertility or sometimes even Biblical passages.
So here’s a question for Lisa’s blog readers: What do you do? Are you also writers?
What do you do? That’s such a common question. Back in the old days – in a previous career before I started writing full time – I wouldn’t answer in a straightforward way. “I work for a law firm,” I would say.
Or later, when I was assistant general counsel at a university, I’d say, “I work in a legal department.”
My husband used to find this amusing. “Why don’t you just tell people you’re a lawyer?” he’d ask.
The truth? I never felt like a lawyer. I felt like an imposter. But the minute I decided to leave my job and launch a career as a freelancer, I told anyone and everyone who cared to listen, “I’m a writer!” That was over three years ago when I barely had a clip to my name – a couple of legal articles in trade publications and an essay I’d sold that hadn’t even been published.
Yet saying those words felt authentic.
These days my husband is still amused by my answer to the question “What do you do?” Only now he’s amused for different reasons, because once I tell people, “I’m a writer,” he says he notices people tend to be fascinated and will launch into all sorts of related questions: What kind of writing? What articles are you working on? Do you have a website? A blog? Are you writing a book? Then, as an afterthought, they’ll turn to my husband and say, “And what do you do?” When he tells them he’s a portfolio manager in the financial services industry, he claims their eyes glaze over, they stifle a yawn, and immediately turn their attention back to me and the topic of writing.
Being a writer is an exciting profession. I’m grateful that I can spend my days doing something I’m passionate about, and I love finding out what other people are passionate about.
So nix my initial question. Instead, answer this one: if you could have any job in the world, what would you do?