Friday, September 21, 2012

Professional Writing Is Not A Sometime Thing

When I speak to authors at conferences about pitching to editors and agents, one of the things that comes up is whether or not the writer is really prepared to make the jump to a professional writing career. Sure, it is easy to say we are, but this jump does require much more than simply having a completed manuscript, synopsis and query letter. This jump is a mental jump that, in my humble opinion, far too many authors our there just don't have.

For many, writing is really a hobby. It is something we do when we feel good or when we have something we want to write. We attend writing conferences or our writing chapter meetings, not so much as a business meeting, but more of a social get together. Our critique groups become a chance to hang out, have a glass of wine, and, in many cases, probably spending less time on the manuscript than we had planned to.

Now, this approach to writing is fine, IF your writing is a hobby. Professional writers, however, have mentally taken a completely different approach. Writing is something that happens 7 days a week, all year long. There are no excuses for not working on their craft. There are no reasons why they don't sit down daily and work on their writing.

I have said this before, but professional writing is a full time job. If you already have a job, you have now added a second job to your daily schedule. If you think about a "regular job" you are there EVERY day. Rain, sun, sleet, hail.... it doesn't matter, you are there at work. Writing is no different.

I will be very honest. If you talk to those authors who "have really made it" they "go to work" each day. They talk about "heading to the office" with a full schedule for each day and guess what? They don't leave until it is done.

Are you at that level?



  1. Great post, I realized that if I want to transition to a new career i must discipline myself to write everyday and get better at the craft. However, until that happens and i am able to sustain myself and my family financially if and when i become a published writer then I must still keep the ole day time career =o)

  2. The problem sometimes is that I don't do great writing if there are too many distractions.

    I often have to go back and rewrite nearly everything if it's bad enough.

    So while I absolutely applaud the theory of writing as a full-time job, it is not imo a normal job, like data entry, where you can just slam the keyboard no matter what else is happening.

    I know, I know, other writers do it so I should just keep that diva vibe buried where the sun don't shine, right? *sigh*