Thursday, July 1, 2010

I'm a writer

When people ask what you do, do you tell them about your day job? Or that you are a stay at home mom? Or do you tell them you are a writer, even if you are unpublished? I met my neighbors a couple of months ago and we had the typical conversation of what do you do, how old are the kids, blah blah. Here's how my conversation went.

ME: I stay at home with the kids and actually I'm working on a book.
THEM: Oh, really? What kind of book?
ME: Young Adult novel. It takes up a lot of my time, I apologize I'm over here in my pajama bottoms.
THEM: Oh, how exciting. I have always thought about writing a book.
ME: Really?
THEM: Yes, but I just don't have the time. (looking over my disheveled hair, no make up, oversized tee shirt and pajama bottoms, completed with sandals that I hastily threw on to chase my kids down outside.) Have you published anything?
ME: No, not yet. That is the ultimate goal, though.
THEM: Oh. Well. Good Luck.
ME: Thanks!

But the look is that of disbelief, and a little judgemental-as if that's not a title I'm allowed to have until I've published something. So, I'm a little hesitant to tell people I write. I feel like they think I'm a joke. But, this writing business is hard work, I want to scream.

Then at the most odd place, I became proud of myself again. The school dance I recently attended with my girls was held directly after school let out until 5 pm. So, I brought the girls' dresses to the school and helped them get changed. On our way back to the gym, a particularly snotty ten year old walked up to Princess Rhiannon and said, "Nice dress." My daughter, who is thankfully oblivious to her sneer, says, "Thanks, this is my mom." She grabs onto my hand and leans against me, showing me how proud she is of me. And then, the snotty ten year old says, "Hi. Do you really write books for a job?" My first instinct was to tell her no. I thought, well it's not like she can go buy any of my books, how do I explain that to a snotty ten year old who probably has just as snotty a mother? (Sorry-I hate snotty kids)

But then I realized something. My not snotty nine year old was apparently bragging on me at her school. If my kid feels like what I do is something to be proud of, and calls it my job-despite the fact that she's never seen my name in print-what right do I have to doubt it? My whole family has been behind me during this journey. Even though it has cramped our wallet, they smile and hug me and tell their friends I'm a writer.

So, I held my head up and told that snotty ten year old, "Yes, I do and Rhiannon here is one of my best beta readers." I put my arm around my daughter and squeezed her. The snotty ten year old's face fell and she said, "Oh. Cool." And walked off.

Now, if you ask me, I'll tell you loud and proud..."I'm a writer."



  1. How does it matter if you have published or not? If writing is your passion, you are a writer. Let nobody let you feel otherwise.

    And how proud Princess R would be of you when she is old enough to read your books, and can walk into a store and buy it.

  2. Go Princess Rhiannon. That's one of the best writing stories I've heard and if that's not validation for you Kristi, I don't know what is!

    As an aside, if someone asks me what I do for a living, and I want to be especially snarky, I tell them I'm a novelist. And when the inevitable question comes, "Have you anything published?" I say "I have my book out on submission to my agent." They don't know I'm querying (Or even what it is) every time I type the agent's address in my send to line they become 'my' agent. So I'm not lying.

    So hurry up and finish and get that book ready to query. You can snark too.

  3. Good for you! And kudos to your daughter as well :)

    Very, very few people know I write yet. I'm not quite ready to handle the looks & questions yet. One of these days it'll happen!

  4. I tell them about my day job. I learned long ago not to talk about writing. It just never works out the way I think it will. People say, "Oh, what do you write? Are you published?" If you aren't published, they don't think you're a writer. That's what I've found anyway, but maybe it's because I live in Nashville, home of thousands of unemployed musicians and songwriters!


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