Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Just sitting around in my feather boa eating bon-bons

Over at Romancing the Blog, Jordan Summers’s recent post sparked a discussion about comments people make to writers about writing. Some people think it’s so easy – one day they’ll sit down and write that book they’ve been meaning to write, just like that, as though it’s a weekend project. Others assume once you’ve published that you are automatically rich and famous and therefore don’t need a day job and you can give away copies of your books for free to anyone you’ve ever met.

Among the comments, someone posted that it wasn’t just writers who had to deal with gross misconceptions about their chosen profession, and that’s true. We haven’t cornered the market on annoying questions and strange assumptions, but we certainly get our fair share of doozies.

I’ve mentioned before the penchant for people to assume I write children’s books. There’s also the alarming idea that anyone who writes erotica must have a sordid past and thinks about nothing but sex all day. Sometimes just being a romance writer puts you in that category, as fellow Diva Shelli Stevens found out recently.

While I agree it’s annoying to have people jump to conclusions about EVERYTHING, since it seems to happen to all of us, it may be a function of society or of the human brain to want to feel that we ‘know’ something about everything. We live in a world in love with stereotypes and that’s how we define things. All doctors are rich. All blondes are dumb. All women love shoes. I suppose that makes it hard to blame people for looking for the commonality in everything they see. It doesn’t make it any less irritating, but I think it explains it somewhat.

Here’s some of the jobs I’ve done and the annoying questions I’ve gotten about each.

FotoMat sales associate: “Do you look at everyone’s pictures when you’re bored?”
Well, I didn’t, but let’s just say it wasn’t unheard of.

Secretary at Mercedes-Benz: “Do you get a company car?”
No, they don’t give $40,000 cars to entry-level employees. [I did get to borrow one for a day, though and that was cool.]

Self-employed medical transcriptionist: “I want to make a little money in my spare time, can you help get me started?”
No. This isn’t something you do when you have an hour or two to kill. It’s a time consuming, often difficult job that requires some level of training. Take a class like I did and learn how to grow your own business.

Stay at home mom: “What do you do all day?”
What don’t I do?

“Don’t you get bored?”
I haven’t been bored since 1995. It sounds nice. Can you give me some pointers on how to get started?

What things have you done, besides writing of course, that have gotten you bizarre or stereotypical questions?

In Other NEWS!

Two Voices has been reviewed! Check out this wonderful review at Book Club.


Amanda Brice said...

You mean you didn't write your first book in one weekend?! LOL

Bernadette Gardner and Jennifer Colgan said...

Well, sure I did, but we've got to preserve the mystery, don't we?

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