Come play inside a writer's brain, scary!

Yesterday I was talking to a friend when she said, “I’ve finished writing for the day. Now I have to go to work.”
Excuse me?
I’ve heard variations on this so often that I feel a blog is needed.


I was also inspired by today’s post by Ebony McKenna – – on the Melbourne Romance Writers’ Guild blog, where she says:

…perhaps it’s time to step back for a moment and have a think. Do you write for fun? Excellent. Keep doing it. Does the thought of sending your story out into the world, to be ripped apart by critics kill you inside? Good then, don’t do that. Do the bit you love, without the other stuff. The pressure stuff, that will suck all the joy from your hobby.

She’s right of course. Hobbyist painters can happily paint for their own enjoyment without expecting the Louvre to come knocking. Singers join choirs, and actors volunteer with local drama societies, giving pleasure to huge numbers. Why can’t writers enjoy writing as a hobby?

Many do, of course. Some writing groups let members read work aloud for the satisfaction of sharing their words. You can write journals, competition entries, blogs, family histories. As Ebony says, “Don’t get drawn into the competitive nature of writing as a full time job. Write for the pure, simple joy it brings you. Write for yourself. Write to feed your heart.”

But if feeding your heart isn’t enough and you want to be published, you have to start seeing your writing as real work. You need to learn all you can about the craft and stay current with the publishing industry. All while writing regularly, around a day job, family commitments and life in general.

After writing over 80 published books plus film scripts, novellas, articles, short stories and blog posts; assessing work by my “minions” in the Valerie Parv Award;as well as words for promotional copy and cover blurbs, I guarantee it’s work with a capital W.

And it never stops.

Unlike most jobs, a writer’s work follows us everywhere, interrupting sleep, restaurant meals, holidays and TV programs. We spend half our working lives waiting – for editors, for publication, reviews, sales…while wrestling with the next project. As I said in my last blog, writing is one of the toughest gigs around.

Hobby or work? It all depends on why you write, and where you dream of going.

Why do you write? I look forward to sharing your comments here.


on Twitter @ValerieParv and Facebook

Read some reviews already up at

Comments on: "Are You Writing or Working?" (9)

  1. Angie the Hippo said:

    Work. But I love writing, and it makes me happy. So far my day job gets in the way of my writing, but it’s unfortunately still necessary. But little by little, in tiny little steps, I’m getting closer to it being my only work, which is what I’m aiming (high) for. Because the stars really aren’t out of reach. It just takes a lot of work to get there.

  2. Work. For me, this gig has always been work. Great work. Work I am prepared to work my butt off to make into a paying gig. Work I am prepared to suffer for. Work I want to do. But work. I do this because it is the best job I can imagine. It’s fun work, but not just fun.

  3. Definitely Work, but, right up there with music and real art, the Most Fun Work in the world! Especially when after writing for decades, you finally get The Call!
    Many thanks for letting me be one of your Minions, even if not in contention for the Valerie Parv Award! 🙂

    • You’re welcome, Marion. I’m delighted for you getting the call at last, proof that the work paid off. Congratulations again.

  4. Valerie, I’m rapt that my post sparked this for you. For me, writing is the best job I’ve ever had. The pay is rubbish at times, though!

    • Ebony,the writer, Flaubert, called writing “a dog’s life, but the only life worth living.” I believe writers must write, whether paid for it or not. It’s a compulsion as much as anything else. We’re really sad, sick people 😦 But mostly, we wouldn’t be any other way 🙂

  5. Being an aspiring to be published author, I can relate to the waiting part. It weighs heavily as I try to put the last submission aside to focus on the current project. The waiting has been going on for years now over various projects. Submission guidelines seem like shifting sands as imprints are renamed and merged. But I wouldn’t miss it. I love writing.

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