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How to respond to unsolicited advice from non-writers

Here's what a writer should do, when they hear "You know what you should do..." advice.

What do you do?Last year, I wrote a column for this magazine about the question I dread being asked: “What do you do?” It’s an innocuous question that requires me to frame a rewarding, complicated job so that I’m viewed as a contributing member of society and not a lump with an eccentric hobby. Inherent in my answer is a fear that I didn’t explain. It lurks as soon the word “writer” leaves my lips. If I’m unlucky, someone in the listening party nods solemnly, straightens up, and announces with brio a phrase that makes me want to dive behind the host’s couch.

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“You know what you should do…”

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