I’ve spent the last few years dreading events and gatherings where I might meet people who would ask: “So, what do you do?” When I told them I was working on a novel I could see it in their eyes, they were looking at me and thinking “Unemployed.” Except for those who believed me. The next time I would see one of these believers—be it a year, a month, a week later—they would inevitably ask if I’d finished my novel. When I told them no, I was certain they too were filing me under “Unemployed.”
After a while it starts to become uncomfortable. The person feels sad for you, or disgusted that you don’t look for real work.
But luckily I had no other skills, so I didn’t have to wonder Should I have been a stockbroker? A firefighter? A ballerina? I write, I edit, I teach, and anything else I do at the risk of some peril to mankind. Even cooking is dangerous for me. I often don’t remember I’ve got something on the stove until the smoke detector goes off.
So I kept plugging away. By a string of what I thought was bad luck (the subject of a future post), I was able to finish my novel and get a good publication contract.
I’ll talk more in depth about my journey to publication and my writing process in future posts. But for today I’ll just say that I’m grateful to be a jack of few trades, mistress of one.