So, you’ve just been introduced to a new person and now you’re assessing how to continue. You’ve ninja’d yourself around the awkward formalities of a firm hand shake or overly affectionate for a first meeting hug. Or if you’re like me, you may just throw in a sassy air kiss or become panicked altogether and lean in for some heavy petting. Then the inevitable question comes…
“So, what do you do?”
You stare blankly for a moment trying to think of a tantalising response that doesn’t make your job sound as exciting/satisfying as peeling dried PVA glue from your hands. Maybe if you dazzle them with buzz words ripped from an article you read on The Guardian, then you can get the pretend nods and “Oohh that sounds so interesting” lies out the way.
“I’m a freelance online copywriter. You know… words and stuff… on the internets… I sometimes write them… and urmm… stuff.”
9 times out of 10 if I’m with someone super awesome who knows my strange social habits, they always excitedly jump in with, “She is also a writer!” I then cringe so hard my face collapses with mortification.
The thing is, the words “I am a writer” sounds as credible as a 6-year-old playing sheep number 2 in a nativity school play, declaring that they’re an actor. Everyone with a smartphone and an opinion is a bloody writer. Whether you’re banging out inane crap in 140 characters or less on Twitter or penning a masterpiece on a MacBook in a trendy coffee shop. I’ve been writing fictitious stories, poems and plays since I was about 10, which basically means that I’ve been telling lies for approximately 24 years! In the last few years I’ve taken my writing a little more seriously by forcing my words on the unsuspecting public, yet I still feel like I’m going to get busted by the fraud squad any minute now.
Now I know I can write and I know people enjoy my rhetoric of rambles… and It took me a long time to reach that conclusion. Now I’m not storming the Bastille with my musket and crossbow, bragging at the top of my lungs that I’m a literary genius… because I ain’t! I can string interesting sentences together, and if that makes me an ego-maniac then so be it. I do however struggle with being affiliated with the statement, “I am a writer” as my vocational calling in life. We as individuals are taught from day one to be confident, to have opinions and to be proud of ourselves. BUT we are also programmed to not be too confident, have TOO many opinions or be TOO proud of ourselves. Because then you’re labelled an arrogant asshole and will potentially have online trolls chasing you around the playground/internet with a stick dipped in dog shit.
So, you play it cool. You tuck in your achievements, titles and accolades for fear of being TOO anything.
One day I hope that my self confidence in my abilities will finally appear and stick. And when I’m asked, “what do you do?” I can positively punch someone in the face with, “I am writer damn it!” without throwing up in my mouth a little at my bold, slightly aggressive statement. But right now, I’m just going to nervously stutter through my job title, and continue to misjudge whether to go in for 1 kiss or 2!