Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Real Job

It is an attitude that I run up against all the time - I don't go to an office every day therefore I must not have a job. There is a real belief out there that if you're a woman and you work from home you either:

a) Secretly spend your day lazing about, eating candy and watching daytime television. Or

b) You're a throw-back to a different generation and spend your day waxing the kitchen floor and vacuuming while wearing your big skirted dress, heels and pearls.

I've tried to explain that writing takes time. I've admitted I can't write a 500 page book in an afternoon. Some writers may be that gifted, but I am not among that lucky few. I've tried to get people to understand that just because I'm at home it doesn't mean that I'm not busy and therefore I'm not available to do every volunteer job that comes along. The typical response is: "Oh, I thought you were home during the day! Do you work now?" Grrrr.

I'm sure anyone who works from home has had this experience, regardless of profession. However a computer programmer or accountant seem to be far more acceptable lines of work. People understand what those jobs entail. There was training involved. A writer? Really? I mean you just sit down and write, right? A monkey could do it.

It has been my experience that any career in the arts gets little respect unless you're rich, famous and successful. After all, how hard can it be to be an actor, an artist, a musician, a writer, etc.? My reply to these people is "Try it and see."


  1. Good post. I've got 2 work-at-home jobs, writing and mothering, and I still feel like I need to justify that I am working all day long.

    When my daughter naps, I write. But mixed into that is all the other HH chores that need tending. It's a fine balance.

  2. I've got kids too, Carolyn. All in school now which means I have more time to write. But yes, if you're at home there's plenty to do.


  3. Now wait a minute. I’m confused. (Nothing odd there.) Uh, you said this isn’t a problem if you’re rich and famous. Well? Pause. Toe tapping. You’re rich and famous, so, what’s the problem???

    Now, were ARE those bon bons.

    Best Regards, Galen
    Imagineering Fiction Blog

  4. You just wait, when you're on the bestseller list they'll see! Revenge is sweet!

  5. Elizabeth - from your lips to God's ears!

  6. Great post, Elspeth! Unless they've tried it, I don't think anyone has any idea how time-consuming and soul-wrenching the entire writing process is!

  7. This is a post that really speaks to me! I encounter this all the time. Sigh.

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  8. I've been a stay-at-home dad/writer for several years now (and before that a stay-at-home dad/marketing manager, and a stay-at-home dad/newsletter publisher, too). I still get the weird comments and odd looks now and then.

    Usually, if I belch and scratch myself, people stop pestering me about it :)

  9. Great post! As a stay at home mom and an aspiring writer, I can completely relate!



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