If you're a writer, perhaps you're used to the strange exchange that occurs whenever you tell strangers what it is that you do. It usually goes something like this:
--What do you do?
-I'm a writer.
-- [long pause] Oh, how fun. What kind?
-I write articles, blog posts, copy -- it varies.
--Have I read anything you've written?
-Maybe. What have you read?
--Haha, no no. Like, have you written something...popular?
It's this question which immediately leads this stranger to sort you into one of two categories: Famous or Weird. Of course, what they are hoping to hear from you is, "Oh yes, I wrote a little book called Eat. Pray. Love. Maybe you've heard of it. I'm Elizabeth Gilbert. Sorry, I probably should have mentioned that before." Anything less than that, however, immediately lands you in the Weird category.
On the whole, it seems, people don't believe writers exist. Perhaps they used to exist, back when Mark Twain was still kicking, but now they're relatively extinct. And if they do exist, they only write novels. And if they don't write novels, then maybe they write commercial jingles or advice columns for O Magazine, or, you know -- something...famous.
So when people hear you say you are a "writer," their brains become overloaded with all of these fantastic misconceptions, and it sends them into a momentary bit of panic. This person just used the word "writer" to describe their occupation. Are they crazy? Am I safe in this conversation?
That said, many writers try to find a more palatable way to explain what it is that they do. They use non-sense words like "Content" and "Developer" to help people process the fact that they really do get paid to write words on a page. So if you're looking for an alternative way to say you're a "writer" without freaking people out, here are some ideas:
2. Content Strategist
3. Language Artist
5. Idea Person
6. Sentence Developer
7. President of Words
8. That Thing That Michael Crichton Is
9. Verb User
11. The Opposite Of A Reader
14. Just say, "I make the words that make the sentences that make the WORLD." Proceed to writhe with maniacal laughter.
15. Paralegal (Honestly, just make up a profession. Don't tell people you're a writer. It never goes well.)
Are you a writer or someone with a weird job?
How do you describe what it is that you do?