His fingers curled into air quotes as he said the word “writer.”

That’s your job?” he asked.

“Yep,” I replied.

“So you get paid.”

“No. It’s more like an investment.”

“So you don’t work.”

Annoyance in the form of a hot blush crept up my neck and tickled my cheeks. “Actually I work hard.”

“But you don’t get paid,” he repeated. “Working without getting paid means you’re not working, you’re performing a service.”

I turned to my writer friend, “Wow. Never heard our work put that way. I guess we service people.”

We both laughed and the guy moved on, but his reaction is the same as so many others when I tell them I’m a writer–judgement.

Judgement for not providing a “real” income for my family, judgement for following my dreams, judgement for not getting paid and for not being published. The list goes on. But I don’t believe writers have cornered the market on people judging us for our life/career choices. Anytime someone makes a choice against the standard of their environment, they will be judged and they will face naysayers.

I’m just grateful for the heads up from authors like Steven King (On Writing) and Kristen Lambert (“Don’t Eat the Butt: Part 1“) whose words helped me to face this naysayer with his air quotes and confidently answer, “Yes! I’m a writer and I service people. Got a problem with that?”

*raises eyebrows and tilts head in challenging manner*

How about you? Ever had someone challenge you life or career choice? How did you handle it? What advice would you give to those starting out on a new path?