… I start to list all my projects and explain why they’re exciting. With a varied, ever shifting workload, there’s always an update on ongoing projects or a few new ones to catch them up on. Soon their eyes glaze over. My work isn’t exactly a predictable 9-5. Every day is vastly different than the next, so I have much more to talk about than they expected. After a while they grasp onto the one thing they know I’ve got going on: “Are you still working on the same novel?”
Unless you’re the type to pop one out every year or to toss your draft when something better comes along, novels are long term commitments. So yes, I’m working on the same novel.
Writing is my life. It’s strange to start answering someone’s question and then immediately realize that the person really has no idea what I’m talking about. I’m sure that people in a lot of fields feel that. I really have no idea what my Dad is talking about when he gets into technical jargon–sometimes far before the jargon even starts coming out. (Sorry Dad!) So how do we talk about our lives and our work in a way that helps others understand?
For me, I feel like I ought to condense my explanation. Maybe give the broad scope: I write for print and online magazines, I’m working on two books, and I freelance edit on the side. (Even that sounds like a mouthful, but believe me, that’s the short version.) And then I should focus on whatever they seem most interested in.
Do you come across this problem? How do you explain your work?