Crumpled paper and a pen
Photo Credit: Sharon Drummond Flickr via Compfight cc

When is a Writer a Professional instead of a Hobbyist?

As the frequently profoundly profane Chuck Wendig says: A Writer Writes.

One of the biggest mistaken assumptions that I hear from non-writers (and sometimes hobbyist writers) is that a writer — or any creative professional for that matter — waits for inspiration to strike before writing.

A writer writes. Period.

If you want to be a professional in any creative career, you can’t wait for inspiration. You have to treat your creative career like you would any job. You can’t just show up when you feel like it. If you did that at any other job in the universe, you’d get fired. In your writing career you may be your own boss (though this is not always the case, even when working freelance), but you still have to do the work.

Writer’s Block is not real.

That’s not to say that I don’t have days where I just can’t write. Those, quite often, are also days where I just can’t do anything else either, where it’s a struggle to do anything other than lay on the couch, buried in cats, watching Star Trek reruns.  Because mental illness is a bitch.  And sometimes, even when you’re your own boss, you need a sick day. And that? That is perfectly okay.  Believe me, I understand those days, more often than I like.

Recognize those days as sick days, realize that when you feel better you have to get back to work, inspired or not.  Prioritize where you spend those spoons.

Writing is work, and if you don’t work, you’ll only ever be a hobby writer. It is that – not the amount of money a writer makes – that truly separates the professional from the hobbyist.

Do the work, and I don’t care if you never make a dime: You’re a pro.

Photo Credit: Sharon Drummond Flickr via Compfight cc





One response to “When is a Writer a Professional instead of a Hobbyist?”

  1. Lucy Grove-Jones Avatar

    Super true.