Writing as a Hobby

writing-is-my-hobby

Photo Credit: I’m Just Sharing

Okay guys, I have no idea if this will turn into one of my more rant-y posts, but I’ll write whatever I write. By the way, I just realized that I start a lot of posts with “okay guys.” I guess it’s almost routine now. So now let me get on topic. What do you think I mean by this post’s title? Honestly, what do you think? I think it’s fairly straightforward what I’m getting at here.

You see, I’ve never operated under the guise that writing would ever be a career for me. I mean, sure I decided to give myself a full 19 months after graduation to get some writing done, but I’ve never imagined myself on book tours or bestseller lists. Maybe you have, not me. I’m not stupid. I think my writing is okay, but I am well aware of the fact that there are many more writers out there who are simply better. It doesn’t matter what I write or how often I write or any of that stuff that you constantly hear will make you a better writer, because at the end of the day I’m just okay. And I’m perfectly fine with that.

I want to take you back for a second to May 2013. Graduation stuff is in full swing and the time is fast approaching for me to put up or shut up when it comes to writing. I’d been telling people for months about my goal of writing books, and now there would be some bit of expectation from many of them for me to get something done. I’m taking you back to this particular time because someone who probably knows me better than any other person told me very clearly that she believed I should write as a hobby in my free time and get a real job. I have to be honest here, I hated that she said this at the time. This was someone I’d known since high school and we’d remained in constant contact in the years since and she was telling me that I shouldn’t focus on writing. I’ve written about this girl and her advice on here before, and it appears that once again I’m going to acknowledge that she was right. If I’d had more people like her I might have a job by now.

Anyway, back to today. I’ll probably start writing again eventually, but I’m about to completely reverse a decision I made back when I began writing my second book. I wrote a post about it last year but I’m not going to go find it. I said that under no circumstances would I self-publish. And I probably still won’t, but I think it’s safe to say that I have no desire at this point to pursue representation with an agent or traditional publishing. The book I’ve been “writing” will eventually get written, but who cares if a thousand people read it or just me? I’ll write because it’s something I enjoy and feel that I’m slightly above average at, but I’m not sitting here fooling myself into thinking that I’m some super writer who is going to one day make it big by writing crime novels. That isn’t happening.

And what gets me the most is that I see writers on Twitter tweeting ALL DAY LONG every single day about how much they’ve written or what they’re working on or something about writing and I just laugh. Because let’s face it, a tiny tiny tiny tiny tiny sliver of the writing population will eventually secure a publishing deal. Something like 0.05%. And these select few have won writing awards in college and published papers and they make the move easily into fiction. And it seems like every writer seems to think they’re within that percentage of the population, whether or not they’ve even finished college or ever written anything of substance. Folks, there’s a reason your bookshelves aren’t full of books written by high school or college kids, so stop with your crazy thinking that you can do it without all that.  Yeah you might be a good writer, but you are not getting a publishing deal. Not now, at least. Most likely never.

I realize that most of you likely work full-time or maybe you’re in school or something and you also happen to write, but if you work minimally and you’re not in school, well you should probably find yourself a career. Cause writing isn’t it.

And I’m ready for all of you to tell me how just because I don’t think I’m good enough that I shouldn’t think that about everyone or how writers don’t have to have a degree or blah blah blah. Go right ahead.

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18 thoughts on “Writing as a Hobby

  1. Nothing wrong with writing as a hobby. I like to paint; painting and sketching is a hobby of mine, and I’m pretty decent at it, but not spectacular, so I don’t expect to ever turn it into a career. Some people, few as they are, can make money off their paintings. I will not be one of them. Writing, however, has been the one thing in my life that I have ever wanted to do. That puts it way above hobby status. Am I ever going to make a career out of writing? Maybe. Maybe not. If I have to scrape and save ever cent from my part-time job so that I can still have time to at least try, then so be it. Because I’m happy when I’m writing, and it might turn into something big, it probably won’t, but it’s a life I’m loving. I could probably make loads more money elsewhere, but my soul would be crushed, so what would be the point? I’d rather struggle doing something I love than thrive doing something that makes me miserable.

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  2. I wish I could make writing a full time job. But alas, bills must be paid – so I have a full time job. But honestly, a job outside of writing all day (which would be fabulous), can also serve as a bit of a break from writing. And, depending on your field, it can inspire stories and characters as well. There’s nothing to be ashamed of, no matter what choice you make.

    Writing after your job or writing as your job – either makes you a writer and both types of people can create excellent stories. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I agree with a good bit of this, actually. I’m pragmatic and decided to persue a “real” major and a “real” job after college. I’m perfectly happy being a chemist and a writer. I do not consider writing a hobby so much as I consider it a second career, as I do have lofty aspirations…but come on. Publishing is hard to break into and I’m not putting all my eggs in that basket. Even if I published a bestseller, I would keep my chemistry job. Maintaining a career as an author is almost as hard as starting one.

    I do think your assessment of other writers is harsh though (shocker! :P) Thing is, many of the writers you judge are not bad and hopeless so much as they’re just NEW. They think a couple years of work can get you a publishing deal, which is BS. Most people must write a million words or more before they’re *potentially* qualified to be a published author. I have spent my entire life doing this and I still feel like I’m barely qualified. And all these clueless newbies are who make that 0.05% number as small as it is.

    Something like 10% or less of queries come from legit writers who have studied the craft and have some chops as an author, and even less have written a story that is original and interesting. The best way to get there is by honing your skills, knowing when you’re ready, knowing when you’ve got a marketable premise, and following the guidelines.

    So to sum up my half-pragmatic, half-idealistic approach, I would not tell all aspiring writers to “stop fooling themselves,” but I will advise them to invest in their future with a stable career, and to work on their craft 5-10 years before they try publishing. Write a couple novels. Or three, or five. Put them a drawer. Then write the novel that might get you published.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Hmmm. Part of me agrees with this. I’m okay with failure myself. Massively okay with it because yes I’ve not put all eggs in the writing basket either because I think that’s unwise until I know I have a shot…however.

    If you’ve written how many novels? You can’t possibly know if you are “okay” or not okay or worse than okay or brilliant.

    Let me explain. IN short stories I’ve written a hundred and a few were really great (I thought) now looking back they are “okay”> But good enough to get published and decent reviews.

    Then I wrote a novel that was “okay” In my opinion. But I don’t say “Well then I’m okay writer” since it took how many shorts to make one good?

    You seem to be self aware so please do take into account that even though some one hit wonders are out there, most, and I mean it MOST, novelists are just that. They’ve written a few bibles before something good came out in a novel.

    keep in mind it could be at 11 novels you are better than okay.

    If you have the stomach for it I mean.

    Until then call yourself whatever you like but saying you didnt have the “stuff” when you’ve done one book is the new age idea of writing and wasn’t at all how it used to be.

    Before it was well known in college or below you wrote actual full books that never saw the light of day in practice.

    Now, we slap our first novel together and cry when it sucks ( I know I have )>

    But now I say to myself how silly and lame that is

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  5. I have the same kind of mentality you do. I’m writing because I enjoy it, but I still have a “real job” and career aspirations that don’t have anything to do with writing. I don’t think I will pursue publishing, at least not anytime soon, though I do enjoy the writing network through blogging and will exploit that. Besides, even if we don’t publish, we’ve still written a book(s), and not many people can say that.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Writing as a hobby is all anyone should aim for, I feel. I’ve always been taught that a career in writing of any kind cannot be relied on, and that it’s better to write entirely for yourself (being published is just an added bonus). So I think you have the right attitude, really. You need a job separate from your hobby to ensure you can still enjoy it as a hobby. Or that’s what I say!

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  7. Would I like to write full time someday? Absolutely. Will that ever actually happen? Probably not. That’s okay. It’s nice to dream. I’m optimistic with everyone, though I do think people need to be realistic and do their research on how likely it is to get published. And how much work it takes to get there. Having dreams is one thing, being moon-eyed and blind is another. Writing as a living or as a hobby is a wonderful thing.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. You sure know how to write inflammatory posts. 🙂

    I haven’t read your book, but I respect the fact that you pushed yourself to self-publish on an advanced timeline at a considerably young age. It’s a gutsy move, particularly since your genre requires a lot more research to write a believable story.

    I hope you get your steam back and write a spectacular Andrew Banks #2 (or maybe even a reboot, if that seems appealing).

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  9. I identify as a writer but writing for me is still in the hobby basket also. I write because I enjoy it. If its somehing you enjoy then I say go with it and you never know where it’ll lead.

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  10. I have two friends who have been published by small press publishers. One has multiple books, 40 something to be exact, as well as short stories. The other friend has 3 or 4 books. Both of these people have jobs or other income. I wouldn’t say they write as a hobby, but they aren’t career writers, either. If a person wants to write for a hobby, great. If he or she writes and gets paid for the work, that’s even better. If a writer tweets all day, every day about what he has written, or how many words, so what? Go ahead and laugh. All that hard work and determination may pay off for them some day.

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  11. Also I’d like to add that you are an exceptional blogger. I read maybe five consistently and you always draw me here to comment! KUDOS!

    It’s sneaky but very much ‘writing’ and very much making you a ‘writer’ whether you know it or not!

    If you could pair your real voice into a story you’d be on target.

    Maybe try non-fic?

    These are all valid writing arenas!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. First, I’m glad that you liked my post this week. Thanks for continuing to read my blog. Second, it’s very possible to make a good living as a writer. I have. However, as you point out, making a living as a novelist or poet is not as likely. Like yours, my fiction is something I must write and that some people will read. While it would be nice for my books to be best sellers, that’s not my expectation.

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  13. Pingback: Let the Downward Spiral Known as my Blog Continue | Write me a book, John!

  14. John…here’s my two cents. Oh, but first before I forget, thanks for stopping by marc’s blog and leaving a like—I deeply appreciate all likes left. Okay, two pennies’ worth: I wouldn’t get hung up over labels. Writing is simply writing. It doesn’t have to be described as a “hobby” or “full-time job.” It’s just writing and it’s something you do. I’m retired and I write. Am I retired? Am I a writer? Both I suppose, but who cares. I’m busy doing each one and I keep my activities loosely defined. Next, I have learned in my mistake-ridden 69 years that I have made a gazillion of them and that these have been some of my best teachers in Life 101. Mistakes, along with repetition and practice make a great trifecta for any writer to bet on. I keep writing. I keep getting better; there’s no doubt in my mind. Some, however, may argue my use of the word “better.” So what. And that’s my final suggestion to you…SO WHAT! Don’t over-analyze yourself. Just keep on keep’n on….nice blog!

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  15. It would be great to be able to write as a career, but I’m not delusional. I know my chances are slim to actually get published. That’s why I have a job alongside.

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  16. I “liked” this post simply because I’ve been where you are now. Many years ago I was working 60+ hours a week and taking a master’s level course. It was hard enough keeping up with work, and phone calls all hours of the night, but trying to write a paper became excruciating. One of my friends said, “You’ll never write that paper.” My mind turned this into, “You’ll never get a Master’s degree.” Ah, the power of self-fulfilling prophesy.

    You adopted 1 perspective and you’re running with it. Find people around you who are willing to nurture your writing ability while, at the same time, offering to critique and not criticize. The first will offer valuable feedback. The second serves only to discourage..

    A writer writes simply because s/he can’t NOT write. (Yes, I love double negatives–get over it). It doesn’t depend on how many people buy your book. It doesn’t depend on what the people with negativity issues think. Writing fills an emptiness, a need for self-expression. With the right people to nurture this need and help you find your voice, improvement is a certainty.

    Regarding self-publishing: Here’s an article about people who self published http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ronald-h-balson/bestseller-success-storie_b_4064574.html. If you read it, you’ll see that many successful authors started out self-publishing but were later picked up by a publishing house.

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  17. Pingback: I Have too Many Books | Write me a book, John!

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