Friday, October 28, 2011

My Gray Car: On Being Out As A Writer

I'm infinitely proud of my CP Juliana Brandt for hosting her very own blogfest!  I'm not surprised it's dedicated to celebrating each other as writers - Juliana is an incredibly supportive and positive writer.


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. :)

14 comments:

  1. Oh families that just don't get it...in the African culture...unless you are a doctor you might as well not even introduce yourself! It's a shame isn't it! How funny that everyone wants to be a writer in LA. That's like in he blogging world!

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  2. Hi Sophia!
    I am visiting you from the Warm Fuzzies Blogfest. As long as we know who we are (and it sounds like you do), it doesn't really matter the response we give about what we do in polite conversation, does it? Great post!
    Kim Van Sickler
    http://swaggerwriters.blogspot.com/

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  3. Hey we're both doing the warm fuzzies blog fest!
    Show me the money--that is so true, even in non-Chinese families!! When I was growing up my dad once said something along the lines of there are no dream jobs, just crap jobs, the purpose was just to make money.
    I think I'll hang up the Sinclair Lewis quote instead.
    ha ha

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  4. Love that quote!

    I'm at the point where I've had an agent for over a year, and now those people who still remember that I told them about said agent, are wondering why she hasn't sold my book yet. Show me the money, indeed.

    Stupid muggles.

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  5. Love that quote :)

    I'm POSITIVE that you'll be making money at it soon. Cause who can resist the awesomeness of Greek Mythology? No one, that's who.

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  6. Love that quote :)

    I'm POSITIVE that you'll be making money at it soon. Cause who can resist the awesomeness of Greek Mythology? No one, that's who.

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  7. My family was great when I finally told them. I only had (have) a few realitives I really didn't want to talk with about because I knew they'd grill me, they'd want to know how I was doing, how the book was coming, am I making money, and I have to explain, it's takes time.

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  8. Aww you make me so darn happy!

    Maybe I'm just too private a person but I just can't tell people I write. I even tried to this week...definitely didn't work. Oh well.

    Great quote, Soph.

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  9. Love, love, love the quote. Great post. Happy I found your blog - new follower!

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  10. Oh my gosh, it IS awkward to tell people you write. The majority of my good friends didn't even know I was writing my novel until I finished it and started querying it. There's something so fragile about it, you know?

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  11. Hi there from a fellow Warm Fuzzies writer. People love to know if you have made any money at writing - they seem pacified when I tell them that the sales of my book 'double each month' (I am only 6 months in and started with 1 book sale in the first month so figure it out...) I guess if it continues at this rate of growth I will be very happy in about 18 months... if only!

    Keep writing. I have added you to my blogroll.

    Emma Calin
    http://emmacalin.blogspot

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  12. Story of my damn life, Sophia. If I so much as mentioned I wanted to be a writer in my family years ago, there were a lot of slamming doors and threats and melodramatic ranting in front of the Buddha statue. It's calmed down somewhat, now that they know I'm just gonna do exactly as I please, but I still try not to go around blabbing it to people I know won't care. Be proud of your gray car, girl! (I mean white) And be proud you're a writer even if not everyone needs to know about it.

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  13. This line made me laugh so hard I knocked the mouse off the desk: "In fact, disclosing that I'm also a writer has a surprisingly beneficial effect of telegraphing my poverty-ridden status quickly and efficiently."

    Drive that gray/white car proudly. And remember to order only from the dollar menu and ask for a cup of free water! :)

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  14. Great post. Stopping by via the Warm Fuzzies Blog Fest. Keep writing...it'll be nice to rub it in when it all pays off and you're published! :)

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