When people ask me what I do, I tell them I'm a writer. Because, well, that's how I make money. But no, I'm not officially on staff at any publications, and I'm not yet a published fiction author, so long story short, I freelance. I know writers decades older than me who have made a fantastic career from freelancing (and have the New York zip codes to prove it), but somehow being 23 and being a freelancer often invokes some type of cringe from 9-5ers.
Next time you meet someone working much longer hours than you do, for less money, but actually doing something she enjoys, here are some questions you should maybe keep to yourself. I've provided answers, so you don't even have to say the words out loud!
1. But do you want a job?
Yes, I have several. I might prefer to relax with novels on my yacht in the South of France all day, but in the meantime I'll settle for a working life.
2. Do you make enough money?
Does anyone? Is there really anyone in this country who is satisfied with their salary? Really? And no, I'm not on my parents' allowance. I'm self sufficient, if that's what you meant.
3. But how do you make money? OR: Do you make all your money from writing?
Why are my personal finances so interesting to you? I have friends with "real" office, salaried, benefits jobs who do all sorts of odd jobs to make rent and afford a cocktail or two after working 9-5, Monday-Friday. I edit, translate, ghostwrite and occasionally babysit, now you know. I also accept major creative grants, if that's why you were asking.
4. Do you think any of the companies you work for will hire you?
Yes. They hired me to write words for them. Do you mean full time? That's a different question. Also irrelevant unless you're interviewing me for a position.
5. But what do actually you want to do with your life?
This. I think. Maybe. Actually. I'm 23! Don't ask that.