Men might be from Mars, and women might be from Venus, but writers and non-writers are from different solar systems. What’s a freelance writer to say when that certain someone special, whether butcher, baker or candlestick maker, a non-writer through and through, gets on a soapbox like Zarathustra ascending the mountain and proclaims that writing isn’t a real job?
1. Do you remember that Tiffany’s heart pendant I got you for Christmas last year, the one your co-workers oohed and ahhed over like it was some kind of cuddly little newborn? Do you think you would have been tearing open that famous robin egg blue box, enjoying a Christmas morning Breakfast at Tiffany’s, if I had not written umpteen articles about e-cigs and home security systems?
2. Two words: children’s braces. Two more words: college tuition. Do you believe these things were paid for with Monopoly money, by the great fortune I amassed by setting up all-inclusive hotels on Boardwalk and Park Place, or do you think I have some sort of money printing press set up in our suburban basement? The Stay at Home Dad as Criminal Kingpin. Sounds like an ebook to me, honey.
3. Fact: the girlfriend, husband, wife, or lover who’s neutral about writing shouldn’t get any flak for being neutral. Think about how your eyes glaze over when she starts talking about pharmacology, or when he starts dropping banking lingo like he’s some sort of venture capitalist hip hop star. Any freelance writers involved in these types of daily chats are no doubt wishing they had a TARDIS, that time traveling machine from the British TV show Doctor Who, which would not only allow one to flee the conversation, but also the planet.
4. Speaking of the TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimension In Space), when confronted with the words real job, this is the perfect time to get philosophical. Instead of huffing and puffing, or going the quacked, inner Zen Dr. Phil route, simply say: “What, dear Husband, is reality?” Is it:
- the state of things as they actually exist
- the state of things as they appear to exist
- the state of things as they are imagined to appear
5. Money. Sex. Careers. Children. Housework. According to psychotherapists, marriage counselors, and self-help gurus, these are the five things that couples fight over most. In other words, there’s nothing unique about the writer and non-writer arguing about career paths or comparing one type of career to another. It’s what girlfriends, husbands, wives, and lovers do.
The writer and non-writer might be from different solar systems, but in the end they have it good. With two writers in the same orbit, or under the same roof, they’d be arguing about adjectives and adverbs, mixed metaphors, or more importantly, why one of them has more clients and better paying writing gigs than the other. Now those are fighting words.
Damon H is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.