New Friend: “So, Abby, what do you do for a living?”
Ooh. This social situation just got a little hairier than you’d expected. Do you respond with a long-winded, detail-stuffed explanation of your overly simple job? Do you simply call yourself a business manager and move on with life? Maybe you could get her to buy the story that you’re a writer by day and a Storm Trooper by night.
Me: “Actually, I’m a writer.”
Did you really just say that out loud?? Who the hell are you kidding? It’s not a profession unless you’re getting paid, ya dork. Maybe she didn’t hear you. Hurry up and tell the truth before…
New Friend: “Oh, really? Anything I might’ve read?”
Great. She reads. Didn’t expect that, didja? Congrats on hanging out in social circles with well-educated people who actually read books. Now you get to explain what you mean by ‘writer.’ She’s probably expecting you to mention The New Yorker, or a popular publishing house. Maybe she thinks you lunch with Stephen King. How are you going to even begin to describe…
Me: “Probably not. I’ve been writing blogs since 2007–one in particular since 2011. I am also seeking publication on my first novel, and working on a second.”
Ok. Not bad. That sounded almost convincing. Good on ya! You may have just convinced a stranger that you’re a writer by trade! Surely, nothing could go wrong at this point.
New Friend: “That’s fantastic! Does your blog bring in enough revenue for you to write full time?”
Damn. You totally thought you were gonna get away with this line of answers without having to explain that you do, in fact, “work” full time, even though your job consists of answering the phone and eating Cheetohs in your pajamas between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm five days a week.
Me: “I don’t actually make any money with the blog. I work from home, which allows me a lot of free time to be able to focus on my writing. It’s been a blessing.”
Ok. Ok. I take it all back. That made you sound savvy AND grateful. You go, girl.
New Friend: “So what’s your blog about?”
Me: “It’s a humor blog about our lives. I write about everything from my marriage to my hobbies and everything in between. It’s always been about finding the funny in day-to-day life, although I’ve been known to write a serious post every now and then.”
Right. We’ll go with that instead. Kudos.
New Friend: “How fun! And your book? What genre?”
This one might be dicey. You did, after all, write a book about a fan girl who enters a contest to win an internship with her favorite boy band. Since this new person hasn’t even scratched the surface with your New Kids on the Block obsession, nor seen your Pinterest board dedicated solely to Donnie Wahlberg, you’re skating on thin ice here. Don’t go overboard. She might only read biographies about important dead people.
Me: “I’m pitching it as contemporary romance. It’s about a 30-something woman who’s stuck in a dead end job that she hates. She finds out that her favorite band is hosting an online contest, looking for a new PR consultant, and she enters on a whim. She wins, and is whisked away on a month-long internship that results in adventure, personal growth, and love.”
Wow. You should write book jackets. For realsies. And look–your new friend is smiling, and nodding, and isn’t throwing canapes or empty wine bottles at your face. That didn’t just sound plausible, it sounded downright professional! Look at you, Ms. I’m A Full Time Writer Lady!
New Friend: “That’s really great. I’d love to read your work sometime.”
This is it! This is it!! Set yourself up right here for success….
Abby: *reaches into wallet* “Here’s my business card–the address to my blog is on the back. Stop by and visit sometime.”
Aaaaannnnd it’s a perfect dismount. Scores of 10 across the board, even from the stingy French judge.
Congratulations, Abby. You just called yourself a writer AND gained a new reader, all within one quick conversation at a party. Treat yourself to another glass of wine, you sexy beast, you.