The first week's question asks: How do you broach the subject of being a writer to other people who aren’t authors?
I live in L.A.
Everybody is a writer. Even the actors (try to) write. Even big-time directors "really want to write."
In fact, disclosing that I'm also a writer has a surprisingly beneficial effect of telegraphing my poverty-ridden status quickly and efficiently. It signals to other writers that I'm not a viable money lender, to my a capella group that I'll be wearing a suspiciously similar dress for this upcoming concert, and to everyone else that my gray car is actually white.
Hey, car washes are not cheap in L.A.
On a serious note, I never introduce myself as a writer. When people ask, "What do you do?" they mean for money. When I was in The Biz (yeah I said The Biz), I didn't call myself an actor until I made money doing it. (Good thing that happened really quickly, or I would have been a "um, nothing" for a long time.)
So I tell people what my money job is. The writing might never come up at all.
The only people I actively avoid talking about writing with are my boyfriend's family and my father. Old school Chinese who live by "show me the money." I have no money to show them, but they're welcome to ride in my gray, I mean white car.
Those folks rarely ask about my writing anyway. It's less than a hobby, like biking. It's a shameful frivolity not worth mentioning. I prefer it that way. Their negativity and insulting comments are better left unsaid. (We already know you don't want to write in a Chinese family.)
As Sinclair Lewis said:
It is impossible to discourage the real writers - they don't give a damn what you say, they're going to write.
Besides I have you guys. That's all I need. :)