And what do you do…?

This morning while I was walking Rodney, I bumped into another dog-owner; I’ll call her Sophie. She’s a lovely lady – very friendly, and we chatted for a while about our dogs, the weather, and that Sophie was late for work. I said; “Me too, I really need to knuckle down today.” Then Sophie asked me what I do.

This question always causes me a degree of consternation and embarrassment, because what I do, and what I am does not necessarily marry up. For instance, I am editing my first novel, and writing my second. But am I a novelist? No – absolutely not. At least not until I have published one of them. So I usually mutter something about being a copywriter – and that much is true; for several years, businesses have paid me to come up with words on their behalf.

But today, I found myself curiously and unusually forthcoming – and confessed to Sophie that I was writing a book. “Oh, that’s interesting. What’s it about?” she asked, reasonably. Hmmm; another tricky question. It’s nice when people take an interest, but I find it hard to give them a satisfying soundbite in return. So I usually say (cryptically, I admit) “Oh, it’s about real life and ordinary folk.” If pressed further, I then tell them it is about a dysfunctional collection of people, who live on a modern housing estate much like the one I live on (Sophie too, for that matter). At which point, I am highly adept at switching the focus back to the other person and moving swiftly on.

I can’t help but feel sheepish when I admit to writing fiction – partly because I’ve had some very funny reactions in the past. One lady said; “Ah, bless you – it’s nice to have a little hobby…I’ve got my colouring books.”

Now I’m not knocking adult colouring books, but I don’t think it is comparing apples with apples. Surely colouring books are supposed to be relaxing, and there’s nothing relaxing about trying to dream up new characters, settings and plotlines – or worse, sweating over a blank page when all inspiration deserts you.

Perhaps when I publish my first book (which happily is looking like a distinct possibility), I will feel more equipped to deal with the question; what do you do? Until then, don’t be surprised if when you ask, I start wittering about how my hydrangeas came up blind this year, or about it being time for Rodney’s flea treatment…

1 thought on “And what do you do…?”

  1. Hi Beverley,
    Really enjoyed your post. Be proud to say you are creating content because one day when you are published the other person might just say, “you know I think I’ve read that.”

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