Often friends and family of online writers don't understand their lifestyle or career. It's not something they do on purpose. They just really don't understand. Here are some of the top things family and friends of online writers need to remember.
Just because we are at home does not mean we are available.
Online writers work at home. Yes, this means we are at home more than some others might be. But it does not mean we can always answer the door or the phone. All of a writer's home hours are not hours that the writer is available. We have hours that we work, just like everyone else. It just so happens that our work is done at home. Just like you would not want someone calling your job to interrupt your work, we feel the same.
If the phone is off, we are most likely working and probably not dead.
The phone being turned off is not an invitation to bug a writer on messenger or facebook. It's also not an invitation to keep leaving messages or show up at our door. It simply means we are working and will get back to you when the work day is over. Writing is no different than any other job. If we don't do the work, we don't get paid. So if the phone is off, please don't take that as an invitation to interrupt our work with other means of contact.
Call before coming over.
Online writers might be working at various times of the day or night. Our schedule is flexible. However, because writing requires a specific thought process, when we are in the middle of it, interruptions can actually ruin our work. So, even though our work day is flexible, we need to be able to be the ones to choose the hours. If you'd like to visit an online writer, call first. If the phone is off, the writer is probably busy.
Facebook and other networking is not playing.
Online writers get paid by page views on many of their pieces of writing. Just because your online writer friend or family member is on facebook, it does not mean that person is playing. We need to stay social to keep connected with each other, as well as our readers. Both conversations and posting article links helps us with this aspect. Just because we are posting on facebook, it does not mean we are not working. It also does not mean we are available. Facebook, twitter, and more can be an important part of an online writer's day.
Online writing is a career, not a hobby.
When you ask your friend or family member how their 'little hobby' is going, expect them to be offended. Why? Online writing might be a hobby for some, but to many, it is actually their career. Does your friend or family member get paid for their writing? If you can answer yes, then it is not a hobby. Online writers are business owners, which makes writing their career. Just like everyone else, we have to file taxes, we have to put in the hours, and we get paid. Please do not call an online writer's career their hobby.
*I originally published on Yahoo! Contributor Network.