The response was usually something along the lines of "Oh..." or silence.
It took me a while to come up with the perfect answer, which is:
"Independent study in creative writing."
Now I get "Oh!" and follow-up questions.
Yes, I now hold that astonishing ability of making my unemployment seem fascinating to other people, instead of watching them gawp or turn up their noses.
After all, it isn't as though I do nothing. I'm a writer.
So, what does "independent study in creative writing" mean?
Basically that I study and practice creative writing on my own. No lectures, no teachers, no assigned reading, no homework. My only guide is my passion, motivation to learn new things, and drive to get things done.
I know that my situation is very different from most. Not everyone has the ability to write without worrying about exams or a job...but I am interested to know how others inform people that they're writers.
Do you? Don't you? How do people respond?