Is writing your hobby? Or your career?


“Why are you wasting so much time and energy on writing?  You should really take a break.  It’s only a hobby after all.”
I’ve been getting this a lot lately, especially now that I’ve had to take an unexpected trip.  I went crazy trying to find something so I could stay in touch with my agent.  We’ve been working on some not so little changes to one of my novels and I have an editor waiting to see them.  I really can’t afford to be incommunicado with her.
 Even my wonderful husband, who teases me about loving writing so much it couldn’t possibly be a job, has done everything in his power to help me.
But to others, including members of my own family, don’t understand that while I may not be getting paid yet, this IS my job.  They only see it as a somewhat silly, but relatively harmless way to pass the time.  In other words.  My hobby. 
At first I was angry.  Okay, all right, I’ll be honest.  I was downright pissed.  Then I realized they don’t understand.  How can they?  They’ve been taught they’re whole life that something is only considered a job if they get paid for it. 
It doesn’t really count until I’ve got the green in my hand. 
While I consider this time I’m not getting paid, my internship, until I get “hired,” they will only continue to see it as a hobby.  They forget that a doctor isn’t a doctor until he goes through 8 years or more of unpaid training. 
Anyone in the publishing industry goes through some kind of internship.  Plumbers, electricians, glass blowers, all have apprenticeships.  These positions are all unpaid, or the pay is so pitiful it might as well be unpaid, but no one considers these hobbies. 
So what makes writing so different?
I’m going to venture a guess and say it’s because it’s fun.  Not all the time.  There has been plenty of times I’ve wanted to bang my head on the wall because a scene wasn’t coming out right. But, despite all that, we love it. 
Just like people who collect stamps or seashells.  They love doing it and though it may not earn them money, they keep doing it. 
So, I guess, if that’s the case, then yes, writing is a hobby.  But it’s also my career.  And I love my career.  😀

7 Responses to “Is writing your hobby? Or your career?”

  1. Jennifer Walkup says:

    >Great post and sooo true! People don't take it as seriously as they should. I get that a lot about doing it "for fun." And while writing can be fun and I love it, it is work and once you are working with an agent and meeting deadlines, it very much is a job – even if unpaid. Well good luck with your revisions, in any case.:)

  2. Dorothy Dreyer says:

    >Great post. You have every right to get pissed – but I'm glad at least your hubby is supportive.

    I guess I'm lucky in that I have an "artistic" kind of family (mostly musical) that understand creativity and support that. I don't think my father, who (aside from his real job) is a drummer in a band, would ever tell me that writing is just a silly hobby. He gets it. Maybe this is a reminder that I should be a little more appreciative of them, lol.

  3. Kaelee Morgan says:

    >Don't let the naysayers drag you down. When you get your first advance or royalty check gleefully waggle it in their faces. 🙂

  4. Roza M says:

    >Awesome Post! This sounds like my family, well, more like my grandmother. She was with me this weekend when I got a partial request, and I had to submit it in mail. She asked, Why are we going to the post office? instead of answering her I handed her letter/email printed off, and said, "Read this. I'll be back." as I ran inside. she mumbled when I came back, "So this is what you're doing now?"
    I said pretty much. and she complained and gave me 35 reasons to quit, and I'm still laughing it up.

    I hope you are too. Laugh at their silliness, b/c when you do get green or have book signings you can say, "What was this again??? A hobby? I didn't know those came with fans. lol"

  5. Elle Strauss says:

    >I tend to be my worst enemy in this regard, only recently being able to call it a job without blushing. I like the internship angle. I think I'll go with that one for a while!

  6. Eleven Eleven says:

    >Great post Jessie. I'm on your side.
    I think people should just respect hobbies more. And, while we're at it, careers a little less. Really. If a thing is important to you, it's important to you. After basic needs are met, money is a stupid factor to use in ranking priorities.

  7. Larissa says:

    >I'm soooo there, and I don't even have an agent to make it seem more legit. LOL. 🙂