Sunday, April 17, 2016

"I'm a Writer" and other awkward conversations

by Kristi Belcamino

The other day I was introduced to a new neighbor by another neighbor, with this:

"Kristi is a writer."

Dead silence.

That I filled with: "Um, yeah, it's fun."

Laughter.

And that was that.

I asked my friends in the Facebook Mystery Writers of America Midwest group what they say in these cases so they don't come off as goofy as I did.

Now, I'm all about taking ownership and proudly stating you are a writer. But sometimes saying you are a writer opens you up to all sorts of weirdness.

Here are some great answers my MWA friends offered instead of my lame "fun. me writer."

WHAT DO YOU SAY?

Oh, Kristi--I feel your pain! Whenever I identify myself as a writer, I feel like a kid working at McDonalds in Manhattan must feel when she says: "I'm an actress."

I'm so glad I'm not the only one! And what do you do when a friend praises you to strangers about the wonderful books you write, but describes them in such a way that you know they've never read a single one?

 "I write mysteries."

"Yeah, I write mysteries. What do you do?"

 "I write crime fiction." And "Yeah, it's fun," because that's totally true, too.

"I kill people for a living how about you?"

"I lie for a living, but I'm not a politician."

"Meeting new people is such a great experience. I get so much material that way!"

"You know that Beatles' song -- Paperback Writer. They wrote that about me."

Option 1-A: Have your phone ringtone set for "Paperback Writer" with the ability to automatically play on demand whenever someone asks you this question.

Answer 2: "It's better than being a wronger"

Answer 3: "It's not my fault. I come from a long line of ne'er-do-wells and scallawags."

What do you say?

4 comments:

Scott Parker said...

Since I'm independent, I often say "I'm an author and publisher." That really throws them for a loop. Other times, I'll say "I'm a tech writer by day and an author/publisher by night." Then, to really get them, I'll say "I'm an author who works as a technical writer to pay the bills." It's rather fun. Usually, I'm not greeted with silence but "What do you write?" Then I get to talk about my books.

Rick Ollerman said...

I got this from Randy Wayne White which seems to strike the perfect tone for me:

"I write books."

From there you can change the subject to puppies as soon as they tell you they do, too, and it only cost them five hundred dollars to publish each one on Amazon.

Stephen Mertz said...

You may gather more useful material as a writer if you don't tell them you're a writer.

Dana King said...

What Stephen said.

When in doubt, my fallback answer is, "I'm a whorehouse bouncer." People pretty much leave me alone after that.