What do you say when someone asks you what you do for a living? After college, I pursued a career as a photographer and was partners in a small camera store. I was a photographer. Eventually, when I saw the advantages of a paycheck I joined the Chicago Police Department. Over the course of the next thirty years, I rose in rank from officer to sergeant to lieutenant. So, for most of my life, I was a cop. My answer was I’m a police officer.
After thirty years, I retired. The pension and benefits were there and it was time to pull the pin and move on to my next career. For the next three years, I answered the question with “I’m retired.” Now I have a new career. I write.
In the last year, I’ve published a cookbook, three novels, and a short story. Currently, I am putting the final polish on my fourth novel and have been exploring creating an audiobook version of my short story.
Now my question is what do I call myself now when someone asks me my occupation? I really don’t feel comfortable calling myself an author or writer just yet. Perhaps that’s silly. I certainly put in the time. Between writing and marketing my books I spend at least eight hours a day working at the job. That’s usually seven days a week. I just feel calling myself an author to be a little arrogant yet.
Looking at my bookkeeping I see that I certainly am selling books and turned a profit for last year. I’m not going to buy that dream home yet but it is the kind of positive reinforcement that you need to continue.
I know that if I live to be one hundred I will always consider myself a retired copper first. I bleed blue. I wonder if I will ever overcome feeling silly calling myself an author too.
P.O. Robert Weisskopf assigned to CPD Beat 1511 in the late 1980’s