Is Writing Your Career or Your Hobby?

I spent an hour on IM with someone earlier this week, and then that person just IMed me again a few minutes ago, and we had a nice chat about writing. See, he wants to be a writer. He has published one book through a small, very small, and very new independent POD publisher and has been very unhappy with the results. Now, he’s piddling around with writing his next novel.

I know a lot of people who love to write. They have a dream of becoming a professional author, having a ton of book, hitting the best sellers lists and being ‘famous’ and rich.

These people consider these dreams unreachable, unattainable. They’re just dreams.

They are only dreams. People on my forum joke about becoming rich and famous as a writer, and then they take it back with a quip like, “Yeah, right!” or “I wish!”

But the reality is, you CAN become rich and famous as a writer and hit the best sellers list.

You can.


It’s simply: Treat your writing like it’s your job, not your hobby!

Do you think Tiger Woods made it famous and rich as a golfer by going out to the links only on Saturday morning and drinking a few beers and playing a round of golf?

Do you think Michael Phelps became an Olympic swimming star by going to the local city pool and splashing around with friends on the weekends?

No, these people were passionate about the love and they worked at it tirelessly. Practice, practice, practice. Practicing was part of the ‘job’, and they just had to do it, and they competed and failed, and competed and won, and slowly moved up the ranks to break out of the herd as ‘the best’.

The CEO of a fortune 500 company didn’t land that job right out of college either. He got an entry level job and moved his way up the ladder.

So why do people who love to write think that they are going to be rich and famous and successful without doing the work?

So tell me a story about how Rowling was broke and single and raising kids and she hit super stardom right out of the gate. Uh, no she didn’t. And better yet, do you really think it’s easy for her? I recall seeing an interview with her about how when writing the last book of the Harry Potter series, she was literally locked into a hotel room by her publisher and not allowed to leave or have any distractions at all so she could meet her deadline – no kids, no family, no friends, no phone calls, no internet… nothing but complete immersion into her craft.

Do you have that kind of dedication to your craft?

Are you a writer or is writing just your hobby?

If you want to succeed as a writer, if you want to quit your day job and write for a living, if you want to be famous, well-known, loved, and read by millions, are you willing to do what it takes to make that happen?

Mercedes Lackey, a noted science fiction/ fantasy author, says, “I began writing out of boredom; I continue out of addiction. I can’t `not’ write, and as a result I have no social life!”

I know this feeling. I live this, daily. Do you?

There is nothing wrong with not wanting to move mountains with your writing. There’s nothing wrong with just wanting to publish a few books and not really caring if anyone but your friends and family and maybe a few others read them. There’s nothing wrong with self publishing and building up your own little readership of loyal fans. Great things can come from all these choices.

But if you truly want to make money, good money, real money… if you want on that best sellers list… if you want to be famous for your writing…

You’re going to have to write… write… and write.

You’re going to have to give yourself over to the passion and let it burn you, and burn brightly in you. You’re going to have to practice, practice and practice. You’re going to have to move past the rejections. You’re going to have to set ego aside and learn from every ‘no’ you receive until you get that elusive YES!

You’re going to have to compete and lose. You’re going to have to submit, submit, submit, write, write, write, submit, submit, submit, and then write some more, lather, rinse and repeat.

I was watching an episode of The Starter Wife, not really watching it, but it was on in the background, and one of the guys on the show is a novelist. He had to leave early one morning to ‘get to work’. Getting to work was spending eight full hours sitting at his desk writing and tweaking his most recent novel in progress.

Eight hours of writing in a stretch. Hey, if it’s your career, your job, don’t you spend about eight hours at your desk working? Why then would you think writing means you can spend only an hour a day tapping out work and still make a living at it?

Writers write. Good writers write more. The best writers give themselves over to it.

So… do you want to be a writer, or is writing just a hobby?

Either way’s okay. But you need to really sit down and have a talk with yourself and decide if you’re willing to do what it takes to be successful. And if you’re not, that’s okay too. Doesn’t mean you have to give up writing completely. It just means you need to be realistic about what your writing expectations are.

I am a writer.

It’s not what I do; It’s who I am.

Love and stuff,

PS: I actually wrote this blog post for myself. From me, to me. If you get some benefit out of it, awesome!