Thursday, July 17, 2008

Guest Blogger Jenny Rough on the Passion for Writing

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?


Terry Whitaker said...

Talk Show Host. Surprised?

Jenny said...

You'd be so perfect at that w/ all your good insights into life!

redbug said...

If I could be anything, I would be a stay at home mother. Even now with my youngest 19 years old I say the same thing. I was lucky enough to be able to stay home with all 3 kids until #3 was 2 years old. Somehow for me it has never seemed right going off and not "being there" for them during the day. Even now. I have a great job and a great salary with lots of great perks but when I get home each night there are so many things I wish I had more time to do at home.

Carrie Wilson Link said...

Terry would be THE best talk show host!

I want to be a writer/public speaker, and GUEST on Terry's talk show!

Michelle O'Neil said...

Writer. Hands down.



Best selling author.

: )

Todd said...


Lisa R. said...

Can I leave a comment on my own blog? Yes, of course, when it's on a guest blog post!!

OK, I have to say writer. I HAVE to, right?

But...I'm also kind of intrigued about the life of a chef, Broadway actor/musical performer, Olympic level three-day event rider, and even a psychologist.

But having just sunk two years and I'm-not-telling how many dollars into this MFA, I guess I better go make the writer thing happen, huh?

Jenny said...

I love all these answers.

And Lisa, ha. I have more than one dream job/life too. Don't we all!

Kristy Lund said...

It's taken me 34 years and many hats worn to be able to say, "To Write. To be an author. To inspire." Ditto to Michelle's.

I want balance. To be a wonderful mother while retaining my sense of self. To have time for dinners with friends and date nights with my husband. To make the time and money to buy another bra because I'm down to one.

OK, that's all for now.

Thanks for the question Jenny, and congrats to Lisa on your MFA! This is my first visit to your blog.


Sandi said...

If I didn't have children, I would totally want to do some type of undercover work. Something dangerous and exciting.

Some other dream jobs would to be be a pro golfer or to open up a cafe.

Great question to get me thinking.