I love reading posts like these from other writers. (There, I said it. I called myself a writer and grouped myself in with people who are writers). Why do I like these posts, you may ask? Because they get me to thinking.
This particular post had me not only realizing that I have been a writer for many years, although an unpaid one. It also got me to thinking not only “what do I do?” but “who am I?” People have asked me, as they asked Deborah Lee Luskin per her post, what I do. I always answer “I’m a paralegal“. Sometimes I get a “oh?” Sometimes a “huhhhh” with a change of subject. Others will say “how exciting!” and then promptly change their minds once they ask me what type of law I work in. (Probate, if you’re interested). Not Law & Order, people.
Sure, I work as a paralegal but is it who I am? I don’t think so. I’m not passionate about the law the way I am about writing. My job is just that – – a job, a way to pay the bills. It’s not my truest desire and it’s not what I would be doing if money were no object. Writing, on the other hand, is.
What about you? Who are you? And do you do what you are?
When I held my first jobs, I was always excited to reply with my newly acquired title. “I’m an editorial assistant,” I said, straight out of college. “I teach writing,” I said, in graduate school. “I’m a research assistant,” I proclaimed, when I landed that job.
But when I chose to forgo a non-academic path in order to write, I also took some jobs that had nothing to do with writing and everything to do with supporting my family, like managing a medical practice.
During those years, when someone asked, “What do you do?” I still said, “I’m a writer.”
“Oh, really? What do you write?”
“Grocery lists,” I wanted to say, because, in truth, I wasn’t earning money from my pen and I still hadn’t published a novel…
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