Welcome to Writer Rants–where every Friday a writer just lets loose on whatever the heck is bugging them this week. Enjoy.
Trying to explain what I do for a living is a chore, and it’s not made easier by the fact that I live in an area where the Internet is a totally foreign concept to many people. I’ll admit, some of these people are Amish. Many more are farmers who think the Internet is brain rot that’s at least as bad as television, and maybe even as bad as those dang ole video games. Some of these people are my friends and family, and much as I love them – they just don’t get it.
For instance, most of my neighbors believe I’m running some sort of scam out of my house – except the neighbor lady across the street who is convinced “freelance writer” is code for “government assistance recipient.”
People always want to do what I do, even though they have no idea what it is I actually do. In their minds, staying home all day equals awesomeness. Such was the case when another neighbor heard I was a copywriter and sent his wife to my house. I woke up one morning to find her excitedly beating down my door. “My husband told me that you copy sentences for people and make good money. Can you show me?” Boy was she disappointed when she learned that copywriting is not at all copying sentences for people.
To my relatives, the Internet is synonymous with Ebay. I’ve explained time and again that no, I do not write the blurbs you see on the item listings. According to their logic, since I don’t write the blurbs, I must instead spend my days buying stuff on Ebay.
Of course, there are other relatives who think that I use my career as an excuse to do absolutely nothing while my husband slavishly brings home the bacon. Evidence that I consistently blow dear hubby’s paychecks out of the water consistently fails to impress them.
One of my husband’s good friends, a nice older lady who happens to be a voracious reader of everything, always gives me a serious case of the warm fuzzies. “I’m just SO proud of you,” she’ll say. “Doing what you love and making money too!” It always brings a smile to my face. But that smile starts to slide sideways when she invariably announces that she’s read 16 big-name publications, and she didn’t see any of my articles. Trust me, when my byline is in The New York Times, everyone in shouting distance – which is quite far, the way the valleys around here echo – will know.
Oh, and I forgot about my Amish friends. They just smile and nod patiently whenever I try to explain it to them. As far as they’re concerned, I do stuff on the Internet, and the Internet must be a pretty cool place because Amazon Prime is way faster than a trip to town by horse and buggy. So as long as I have the ability to order their stuff and check their emails, then my career must be a pretty good one. And yes, for the record, some Amish are allowed to have email accounts, or they’re allowed to hijack the email accounts of their English friends, so long as the accounts are either a) for business use only or b) checked by an English person.
Even my cat misunderstands me. In her little world, my job title is “slave.” It doesn’t matter that I’m in the middle of a million-word marathon. She lurks under my desk. If I don’t rub her belly with my foot, she bites my toes. She slaps pens, pencils and sometimes my mouse off the desk when she’s hungry. My leg becomes her scratching post when she’s sulky, happy, angry, playful and – well, my leg is just her scratching post. Emotions don’t play into it.
So, for better or for worse, my job title is “freelance writer.” Whether that means I’m actually a scam artist, a layabout, a compulsive shopper, an email checker or a food dish filler – I’ll leave that up to you to decide.
Whatever it means to you, Amber K is proud to be a freelance writer. Her job really isn’t as mysterious as it sounds – she writes about agriculture, home improvement, construction and more.