When I first started out as a freelance writer, I wasn’t all too sure what kind of success I should be expecting. You probably know that it can be hard working from home, because it’s far too easy to get distracted, even if you think that you’re working like a dog.

Well, I met up with a high school friend of mine for lunch today — dot com moguls still need the real world, after all — so that he could give me my belated birthday present. Joseph Planta, who you may know from The Commentary, had the opportunity to interview and meet up with Bret Hart, author of Hitman: My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling. Joseph’s gift to me was an autographed copy of that book, personalized to my name.

The accompanying birthday card, the cover of which you can see above, is taken from the New Yorker. Joseph said that when he saw this card in the store, he immediately thought of me. If you can’t quite make out the caption, it reads:

He’s a working dog, but I don’t know what he does.

Many acquaintances don’t really know what I do exactly. When I tell them that I’m a freelance writer, they often get a rather puzzled look on their faces before asking, “What kind of writing do you do?”

I’m never all too sure what my answer should be, because the freelance writing that I do is quite varied. In fact, you could say that I take a certain amount of pride from freelance writing for a niche and for the masses. My typical response has something to do with web-based projects, technology, and professional blogging. Even then, it doesn’t give the whole picture.

It’s a totally different experience when I converse with “regular” folks, compared to when I talk to people well-ensconced in the realm of making money online. Bloggers and dot com entrepreneurs are all too familiar with terms like PageRank, backlinks, and Technorati. By contrast, if you use those terms with Joe Public, you might as well be speaking Swahili.

At least I can tell people that my occupation is “freelance writer.” That’s better than saying evil panda killer.