Yesterday I was talking to a friend when she said, “I’ve finished writing for the day. Now I have to go to work.”
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 – http://www.melbournerwg.com/1/post/2013/05/its-fine-to-have-a-hobby-by-ebony-mckenna.html – 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.
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Read some reviews already up at http://www.valerieparv.com/birthright.html