I recently ran into someone I haven't seen in 15 years. While we were catching up, she asked whether I was working.
"I'm self-employed," I answered. "I'm a writer."
"Oh, and what do you write?" she asked.
"Mostly I do copywriting for the Internet. You know, websites and stuff." Obviously I write much more than this, but it's the simplest way to answer this question on the fly. Most people's eyes glaze over if I try to explain in detail, so I stick with the easiest — if not the most eloquent — answer.
"Oh. And you can make a living doing that?"
I'm sure virtually every freelance writer has heard that question at least once during the course of his or her career, and probably actually many times. I suppose I am asked that about 50 percent of the time. The other common response is something along the lines of, "That's so cool!" or, "I always wanted to be a writer, too!"
There are some exceptions, of course, but it seems most people fall into one of two categories: Either they think writing isn't a viable career, or they think it's all fun and games.
I remember house-hunting with my husband, back in January and February of 2006. We didn't sign on with a realtor, so every time we toured a house we had to deal with the same barrage of "What do you do for a living?" questions. One realtor, when I told him I was a freelance writer, immediately turned to my husband and said, "And what do you do?" You could almost hear him thinking, Well, she's no good. Hopefully he has a real job.
What are the most memorable (whether annoying or humorous) responses you've received?