I'm curious how you deal with people who don't consider what you do to be a real "job." I'm so tired of the little ribbing comments by friends and even a few family members who think that "writer" is the same thing as "unemployed."
Ah yes, the old dinner party conversation of, "oh, you're a writer? What sort of things do you do?" Cue: smug glances to the rest of the party, suspecting that the answer will be penning love letters in my Strawberry Shortcake journal or such.
I have to say, after years of answering such idiotic questions, I still get immense satisfaction out of saying, "Well, I have a novel coming out this year, and I write for X, Y, and Z magazines." I dunno, call me immature, call me competitive, call me someone who likes to one-up people who try to one-up me...whatever. I still enjoy it. If only because they're so intent on assuming that what I do is nothing more than a hobby. Yes, in fact, I remember one friend of my in-laws asking me just that: how my writing hobby was coming along and then stating how nice it was that I had something to fill my time. As if she were referring to gardening or something. Snort.
Anyhoo, I deal with folks who make these snide insinuations by a) letting them know that I'm a professional, as indicated by my comments above. As soon as you firmly let them know that you're not a hack, their smugness usually turns to tail-between-the-legs admiration pretty quickly, and there's little I enjoy more than watching these asshats try to dig themselves out of these holes. I also b) shrug off the fact that people judge what I do for a living. (Yes, I really do shrug it off, despite the enormous satisfaction I derive from proving them wrong.) I mean, what am I going to do - go around changing the minds of people who assume that "freelance writer" is synonymous with "freeloader?" Indeed, I'm not. If people want to think that I waste my days away watching Days of Our Lives and Oprah, well, what can I do about it? They don't see the checks coming in or the phone ringing or my Outlook inbox filling up. I think changing their impressions of you only matters when they're interfering with your writing time: the neighbor who assumes you don't have anything to do all day so keeps stopping by; your child's friend's mom who keeps trying to set up playdates during office hours. To these folks, I just say, "you know, even though I work from home, I treat it like any other office job, so I really can't be available during this time. I'm sorry." Period.
How do you guys handle folks who assume you're nothing but a loafer?