“So, any luck finding a job?”
It was Thanksgiving 2005, and my family members were quite concerned about when I was going to find that “real” job. To them, my writing was still a hobby that I would pursue only until I figured out what I would really do with my life. Even when on staff at a newspaper, they didn’t take my writing seriously. But they considered being a freelance writer was even less of a career. Apparently, without a 9-to-5 job and a paycheck from someone else, I was a failure.
“I have a job,” I said. “I write for magazines.” “Right, but when are you going to have a ‘real’ job?” they asked.
“I don’t know what you mean,” I said. “I’m a writer. I get paid for it. I pay my bills. What’s so difficult to understand?”
Attempting to explain how freelance writing is a job is like trying to get an elephant to balance on a mouse without crushing it.
“I’m doing the same thing I did when I worked for a newspaper, I just get to have more freedom,” I explained. “You know who Hunter S. Thompson was, right?”
“Well, of course, but he was a real writer,” they said.
Real writer? REAL WRITER? So I suppose that award I won from the Minnesota Newspaper Association for the first newspaper story I ever wrote as a professional was for my “fake” writing. And the man I interviewed for that story, who almost died by the way, was a figment of my imagination.
“Okaaaay…,” I said attempting to keep my cool. “He was a freelancer. He wasn’t a staff writer for any particular publication. He got paid per story like I do.”
Of course, I have no idea how Hunter S. Thompson worked, was paid, etc., before he died, but it was the one example I could think of. Still, they insisted that unless I found a 9-to-5 job my life would be “unstable.”
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Genre – Non-fiction
Rating – PG