Just some things I have been thinking about: If you are not a decently paid writer, how do you pay the bills? With a "day job" of course. So, when people you meet for the first time ask you what you do, what do you say?I suppose that depends. Are you just starting out thinking of being a writer? Are you in a writing program in school? Are you a journalist? And you've seen that "What I think I do/What others think I do meme, right? The one which has pictures of a Writer?
People who know me, know I left a job to write. But I also had a bunch of other things to do, and much crap to go through before I actually tasked myself to write and identify myself as a writer. Often when I thought of "what do I do?" the end-product would be the answer, but it's more complicated than that. It's a process.
I am practicing saying, "I'm a writer," whenever anyone asks me what I do. If they further ask me about the end-product, say "what have you written/published?," I can answer, "I write poetry and novels and I have a blog. One of my poems is going to be published..."
It's amazing how visible the disconnect is, when I respond, "I am a writer," and how defensive I feel.
Do we ask accountants, say, "Wow, that's cool! How much money did you account for today?"
Most people-in-occupations never have to justify or account for their work. Ask a receptionist, "Cool! What exactly do you do for the X Company?" and see what kind of answer you get!
I write. I put words on paper, or virtual paper. I play with words. I arrange words in order to make sense and to tell a story, to tell the reader something about my feelings--maybe they are your feelings too.
That's what I do. I think I'll try that response next time I hear, "What do you do?"