I'm not sure why, but for some reason my brain freezes when people ask me what I do. Honestly, it's not really a difficult question. After all it's not like I do something particularly complicated that people will have trouble understanding. I think the main problem is knowing where to start.
I tend to start here:
I write books.Which sounds a bit lame, and which is probably why people then ask for more detail. So then I progress to:
Well, I write fiction novels.And then:
I write political thrillers set in southern Africa.Which is better, but still feels a bit lame.
I suspect part of the issue is that with most conventional jobs you get employed as something. When you're a self published author, sure having a book on Amazon certainly qualifies you as an author, but there's always that niggling feeling that you're lacking some sort of gatekeeper endorsement that gives you the right to go around proclaiming your authorial credentials.
Perhaps I need to come up with something euphamistic in keeping with the modern trend of making up interesting sounding names like:
Kingpin of Financial Trading and Technology Solutions
Social Media Rockstar
Coordinator of Interpretive Teaching
Waste management and disposal technician
While those take job titles to the extreme, I think we are entering an era where we do need a longer answer than just - I'm a writer or an accountant or a lawyer. With seven billion people on the planet all clamouring to be heard and employed and promoted and admired, there's a need to differentiate, and to help people understand not only what you do, but how well you do it and how your skills may be relevant to them. So much as I'd like to just mumble along and stick with "I'm an author", I accept that I need to do more.
So how about this:
I write the kind of political thrillers that I want to read: the books that make you want to lock yourself in the bathroom for hours on end even though the kids are hammering on the door demanding dinner, or that keep you reading way past your bedtime even though you know you have an 8am meeting tomorrow...It's OK to have a job description that involves starving kids, isn't it?
Is it just me? Or do other people have issues with describing what they do?