Over at the Writer’s Cafe a few weeks ago, someone opened a thread asking if we indie authors wrote to make a living or did it as a hobby. The responses were varied, and I thought it an important question for an indie to ask him or herself. That question is foundational, and the answer to it shapes your approach to your writing endeavor.
For those writing as a hobby, it is easy to justify a more relaxed approach to writing. Your schedule can be loose, and stress over not writing as often as desired can be minimized because you are doing this to enjoy the writing process and perhaps share your work with others. But should your approach be that relaxed, even if this is just a hobby?
For those writing to make a living, or at least those of us who view writing from an entrepreneurial perspective, the approach is different, more rigid. A solid writing schedule should be adhered to, professional editing services utilized, and products offered at desired intervals depending on your goals.
But should your overall approach to and seriousness about writing be different if a writer does it for a living or as a hobby? My friend over at the Cafe, Ashley Mackler-Paternostro, responded on the thread with a quote that moved me.
My advice, no matter how much money you actually make, is to pretend that writing is how you make your money, how you survive and put food on the table, gas in the car. Take it that seriously at all times. Whether you’re tired, cranky, blocked…sit down and write. Every. Single. Day. Never think of it as a hobby. Hobbies are fun and you don’t feel guilty if your interest wanes 5 out of 7 days a week. Let your goals be your guide on how to approach the process.
Her quote speaks to the seriousness with which we should take our writing, both hobbyists and those desiring to strike it rich as writers.
Those writing as a hobby can take a lot from this quote. No, it may not be your goal to place your work on Amazon or the like and make money from the venture. You may simply want to write that novel that has always festered in your brain. That’s awesome, but it will never happen if you don’t take the writing itself seriously. Nothing will happen if you write one day a week for a half-hour and don’t make the effort required to get that novel on paper. You will not improve, and the novel, if it is ever finished, will be lacking. “But I am doing it to enjoy the process!” you say. Understood. But why can’t you enjoy the process by taking it as seriously as someone who writes for a living? You can. I sure do.
For those writing to make a living, her quote is on the money (pun intended). It shouldn’t matter if you are in a foul mood, or had an argument with your spouse, or just don’t feel like sitting down in front of your computer. You should “pretend” that writing is the only way to keep money in your pocket, that without doing so will cost you, which it will if making money and eventually sustaining your lifestyle is the end goal.
I’ve read other writer’s quotes about writing and how seriously you should take it, but this quote from Ashley moved me in a different way. Perhaps because it came from a fellow indie it resonated more with me. It is now printed out and sitting at my desk.
Ashley has a beautiful author website here, and her blog can be found here. She can also be found at the Writer’s Cafe, sharing her knowledge and experiences as an indie author.
Thanks, Ashley, for providing a little boost and inspiration that we can refer to when the situation requires it.