I’m at a writer’s residency. Residencies are possibly the greatest thing in the world. You apply, someone reads your work and then they decide that your work is good enough that you deserve to come stay at their house and be treated like a delicate artist. Sometimes you get fed. Sometimes you have to cook. But you’re always treated with respect and when you tell one of your co-residents (who are pretty much always interesting smart funny people) that you spent all day figuring out how your character meets the guy who gives her the magic ring that beams her up onto a spaceship no one laughs at you.
(Seriously all you writer types: just fucking apply.)
However outside the little writerly paradise where I find myself the freelance life goes on. Someone asks me if I want to work on a book. I decline because there is no fucking way that I’m going to sully the purity of my writerly paradise with editing work, but I don’t want to say no absolutely. And I don’t want to tell the professional grown-up editor type that I’m off to eat bon-bons in a writerly paradise. Then she might suspect that I’m having too much fun.
And so I dissemble. I’m not very good at dissembling. I sometimes blurt out the truth inappropriately. However I have a few lines that I try to employ to make me sound like a serious editor and not some writer who is just dying to get an advance already so she can stop editing and write all the time.
I’m unavailable until XXX date.
It makes me sound like I work for the CIA. It makes me sound cool and professional. It works for me: delusions of grandeur. It makes my freelance/writerly world turn around.
How do you make it all work?