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Sunday, June 05, 2011

A Writer? How Does That Work?

My new neighbor and I are chatting, getting to know each other when he asks, “A writer, eh? How does that work?” The usual question is what do you write—that one I’m prepared for—but how does that work? Talk about an open ended question!

Do I tell him that I absorb Life and rain it down on the page? That my mind is tuned to observe, listen and record—that I’ll stop people in the middle of what they are saying just to write down the inspiration for a title, a scene, or something to research? That I’m never truly alone…accompanied always by a ready pen and a pregnant inspiration?

I size him up. No, he’s a retired JPL engineer. “Most people start by writing for the Internet and slowly build a portfolio,” I reply. A safe answer, an acceptable answer, a horribly boring answer; gravity wins again.

By Robyn Chausse

Your turn! What is your response when asked about your writing? Do you offer a safe answer or tell it like it is? How would you answer the question, “A writer? How does that work?”


  1. "Absorb Life and rain it down on a page...: What a powerful phrase!

    I take the easy route. I lead with, "I'm a teacher," and then add in the "writer" part. Most people are bored by "teacher" and stop listening then...their eyes glaze over, and drool starts to form a trail on their chin.

  2. Hi Sioux,
    Ah...joining me in the safety zone I see! LOL

  3. Argh! I usually say too much as I try to explain my book idea and my current blogs, then I walk away reminding myself that I really need to sit down and craft a good 1 or 2 sentence description of my goals.

  4. Hi Church Lady,
    Okay, one for the daring side of the conversation--you try to share but it is a little too much--that's okay! ☺

  5. Well, if they ask what I write I tell them I write short fantasy fiction. If they want to know how that works for me I tell them that I write stories and submit them and if I’m very lucky someone likes it enough to publish it.

  6. Only my close family know - everybody else just thinks I'm an unemployed housewife!

  7. Hi Gemini,
    Answering questions with no additiional detail :)
    Does anyone ever ask you what your stories are about?

    Thanks for commenting!

  8. Hi Sarah,

    Why are you hiding? Is it just too much hassle to explain what you do or are you shying away from being judged...? Do you feel it is just a hobby and not worth mentioning? Maybe it feels good to have a secret identity of sorts :)
    I used to mention my writing just as a hobby, thinking I needed to have a novel published before I could proclaim myself a writer. It was uncomfortable when I first began to introduce myself as a felt like I was lying. Now it comes naturally, and no...I do not yet have that novel!


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