People in the USA (I’m told it is different elsewhere) always want to know what you do for a living. You are defined by your profession in many ways. This is difficult for me because what I do for a living, even though I do it well, is not how I like to define myself. More importantly, I do a lot of different things with different titles. Over the course of the past year alone, I have had legitimate reasons to call myself a technical writer, freelance writer, blogger, web developer, editor and unemployed person. Different titles applied at different times, and none of these things were really how I wanted people to think of me.
At heart I am a writer. You can apply all sorts of modifications to this title, but it comes closest to defining me even when I’m not making a cent. There are plenty of things I write without ever expecting to be compensated. There are plenty of other things I write for direct payment or at least in the hopes of getting paid for someday. I write poetry, I write fiction, I write blog posts, I write online help, I write manuals, I write resumesâ€¦ the list goes on and on.
Think about what you call yourself, and what it means to you. Is it tied deeply into your job? Do you feel limited by it or empowered? How many different things do you call yourself? If you find the title that means something to you, that defines who you are or at least who you hope to be, it will give you a clarity that cuts through all the titles that just don’t matter.