Recently, I quit my string of dead-end temp jobs to do what I’ve wanted to do my entire life: start drinking at 6am in the morning and not stop until I pass out.  But to enable this, I had to get a job that allowed me to work from home and not have to hide my beer in a soda can, so I became a writer.  I’ve discovered that there are several misconceptions about Internet writing as a career that I just want to clear up.

What People Think:

That because you have no commute, you can sleep in.

The Truth:

Unfortunately, writing for the Internet means you cater to the needs of all those inconsiderate bastards who get up at 6am and commute to a workplace.  These people refuse to do what a sane person would do, namely show up when they feel like it and tell the boss to eat it.  Instead, they show up on time, sleep in their eyes and coffee in their hands, sit down and fire up the Internet to kill time until some actual work shows up in their email.

And if there’s not something online for them right at that moment, they misdirect their rage towards you, like it’s your fault they can’t pretend to have a dentist appointment every day, and then you don’t get paid.

So, everybody writing for the Internet gets up at 5 or 6am and starts tapping away at their keyboards just to amuse you bastards.  Now click a banner ad, Daddy needs coffee.

 

What People Think:

That you can write whatever you want.

The Truth:

You know who I hate?  Carrie Bradshaw.  Not just because she’s a huge bitch, not just because she dresses like a clown, not just because “Sex and the City” is an abomination before God, but also that she’s seemingly convinced everybody that writers just have to write one column a week and that’s what makes money.

Sure, a lot of writers turn out exactly what they want, when they want, but they’re the ones with trust funds.  Most of what actual professional writers write about is actually instructional non-fiction, by which I mean articles about boner drugs and buying cars.  Oh, and also shamelessly promoting your articles on other people’s websites.

Sure, there’s plenty of fun stuff to write out there, but the real market, just like in publishing, is with stuff people constantly search for on Google.  So to get paid, you write for who wants to pay you, and that means practical (i.e. boring) stuff.  On the other hand, I now know absolutely everything about gutters, and if ever I encounter a gutter-related question during a game to Trivial Pursuit, I am going to OWN.

 

What People Think:

That you can do anything you want, any time you want.

The Truth:

If you want to afford decent beer, or even the occasional bottle of whiskey, you need the well-paying gigs, which means you actually have to get articles in on time.  Editors don’t accept reasonable excuses like “my computer is covered in vomit from my bender last night” or “I have to return my date to the nursing home without getting caught by the cops this time.”  So you actually need to practice time management and get those articles in, and sometimes, you just don’t have time to pick up chicks with no standards with your friends.  Unless you’re researching an article about that.

Okay, so your schedule is a bit more flexible than the average nine to five, and you can do stuff like play video games on your lunch break.  Still, it’s not the total freedom people think.

 

What People Think:

That the total lack of a commute is a good thing.

The Truth:

Recently, I had to get on a bus to go somewhere, and there were two people having a normal conversation.  I was ready to beat them both to death with my bare fists out of pure rage because I didn’t want to hear them talk about their children anymore.  Granted, all parents are insanely annoying and won’t shut up about their kids, no matter what, but in retrospect, these were fairly minor offenders and physically throwing both of them out the window while screaming incoherently was a bit of an overreaction.

Commutes are actually a good thing because they build your tolerance for annoying people.  It’s really amazing how quickly your ability to deal with the kind of douchebag who plays his music over his phone’s speaker on the bus or the old people who keep dinging the bell just vanishes when you don’t have to do it five days a week.

It’s not just public transit, either.  Driving is a one-way ticket to a coronary, even if you’re not the one driving.  Working from home should automatically revoke any of your gun licenses because you will be inclined to use them.

 

What People Think:

That thanks to your free time, you can get out more and meet people.

The Truth:

Working from home is kind of a death spiral when it comes to your social skills.  You never go anywhere, and there’s no real reason to do anything.  Over time, your manners and ability to interact with other people kind of just…go away.

I think I actually said “Boobies” to a Dunkin Donuts employee the other day when she asked me what I wanted.  She just brushed it off, since in Boston Dunkin’ Donuts employees are sexually harassed all the time, but I’m pretty sure I also did it to the woman at the gym.  Since she’s also the Krav Maga instructor, I’m not totally sure since I woke up in a dumpster with “Scumbag” tattooed on my chest.

The point is, you don’t talk to people with your mouth much, so you end up turning in to a pale-faced shut-in and everyone thinks your frantic stuttering and complete lack of tact are a byproduct of being held captive in a medieval castle’s torture dungeon for over a decade.

That’s writing in a nutshell.  Of course, the upside is you can drink at work relentlessly.  Excuse me, I’m going to go have my breakfast six-pack.