Hobby or Profession?

Disclaimer: These are just my thoughts about the direction I would personally like to take my writing hobby.  I don’t discourage anyone from pursuing a professional writing career if that is what their heart desires.

We’ve all been asked as kids what we want to be when we grow up.  John Lennon cleverly answered, “I want to be happy,” but he was perceived as having missed the point of the question, because people who ask it usually mean, “When you become an adult, what is your desired profession?”  What a loaded question for a little kid.  Now that I’m older and seem a bit more mature (believe me, I’m actually not), I’ve noticed that people who ask the infamous question of me now seem to genuinely want to know my career plans.

When I was younger, so much younger than today, I would tell people, “I want to be a writer.”  At that time, I naively believed that I could become a New York Times Bestselling Author overnight and make my living writing books that would sell like hotcakes from the get-go.  I’ve had a few years since then to open my eyes and reconsider my aspirations.

Lois Lane, as portrayed by Margot Kidder in Superman (1980)

For me, writing is a hobby.  Hobbies are supposed to be fun, and I’d like writing to stay that way.  I don’t think writing would be quite as much fun if it were my day job.  And truthfully, I don’t see how the kind of writing I do would be ideal for a proper, nine to five, routine job.  I’m not like Lois Lane from Superman, who can sit at a desk every workday writing newspaper articles lickety-split (all the while, Perry White throws a temper tantrum and Clark Kent keeps dropping and bumping into things in her vicinity).  My cases of writer’s block certainly don’t follow a routine schedule.  Sometimes I’m stricken with it for weeks when I least expect it. How would I support myself or my family during those often extensive periods of non-productivity?

‘The Poor Poet’ by Carl Spitzweg

Until they strike gold and make it big, it seems like many authors don’t lead very glamorous, lucrative lives on account of their writings.  Many remain relatively unknown for a long time (or forever), and so we get few sales from our publications, at least at first.  (I’m still in the “at first” stage, and since I’ve gone through a non-traditional route, I’m at a small disadvantage when it comes to making my book known to prospective buyers/readers.)

Ever hear the expression “starving artist?”  I don’t want to be that dependent on my art to be able to support myself financially; unless I should suddenly become as wildly successful as, say, J.K. Rowling or Stephen King, it just isn’t practical.

So, what do I want to be when I grow up?  I want to be a writer the way John Lennon wanted to be happy.  It’s simply what I want to be.  I don’t know if Lennon ever fully accomplished that goal before his life ended, but I know that I already am a writer.  I’ve definitely been one since I was ten, as my author bio will explain.  As for what I want to do for a job … I’ve got other plans.

9 thoughts on “Hobby or Profession?

  1. Michael Gunter says:

    I gotta say, this is an aspect of writing I choose to actively ignore. I hate having to think about it. XD XD

    However hard it is to make a living writing, though… I’d like to have the chance to try. 😉


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