"So... what is it you do, exactly?"
I can't tell you the number of times I've been asked this question. From friends. And relatives. And people whom I assumed understood what I do.
Honestly and truly, I never thought what I did was very mysterious. I mean, I write. Sure, what I write is different from what other writers, journalists, reporters, poets, playwrights and authors write. But we're all basically doing the same thing.
Or I thought.
But at this point I'm starting to ask myself: What is it I do, exactly?
At social networking events, I automatically describe myself as a freelance writer who primarily writes and ghostwrites articles, website content, press releases, advertising/marketing copy, business reports and blogs.
The response to this incredibly dull description is usually a blank stare. Blinking ensues. Drinks are sipped. Awkward silence is followed by light coughing.
Then, the question. "Have you written any books?"
Well, no. Well, yes. I mean... I've been published in a book and I'm working on a nonfiction book.
(Does that count?)
In the end, I usually have to describe several articles I've written and the magazines/publications/websites where they've appeared. By then, the other person has a better grasp of my chosen line of work... and he or she is ready to vamoose because I've become tiresome.
I suppose I naively assumed that everyone would just understand (and perhaps even be interested in) what a professional freelance writer does because there seem to be so many of us out there right now.
I was wrong.
Therefore, I'm putting a call out to my fellow writers... How do you answer the age-old question, "What do you do?"
Is there any solid response? Or are you forced to try to explain how it is that you can make a paycheck at 1:00 a.m. while you're sitting in bed half-naked with your cat, your snoring husband, and your laptop?
(On a side note, the next time someone asks, I'm thinking of answering, "Well, aside from murdering drifters and prostitutes upon occasion, I like to write." Think that would get me attention? Or perhaps a stay in a penitentiary?)