Writing Questions Answered: Should You Have a Writing Career or Writing Hobby?
This is a tough question every writer must answer, sometimes more than once in lifetime.
Having a Writing Career
In the face of today’s publishing climate, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and discouraged, especially in the beginning of a writing career, and give up your dream.Unless your name is Dan Brown, J.K. Rowling, or Suzanne Collins, writing as a career is not that secure a venture. While there are no guarantees of success as a writer, you can help your chances. It usually takes an investment of time and money in things like education, conference fees, a website, and more, before a writer begins to earn anything, much less a living. Given this, you will probably want to supplement your income, at least at first. If you can do this by finding a job that allows you to use your writing abilities, all the better.
Educate yourself. You can learn the craft of writing formally through an MFA program. Informal ways to master writing are through websites like Live Write Breathe and by reading books on writing and also from writers accomplished in the genre(s) you want to pursue. Attending writing conferences, colonies, and workshops can also help.
Build a platform. Michael Hyatt, named by Forbes magazine as one of the “Top 10 Online Marketing Experts To Follow In 2014”, offers his best advice on building a platform in his book, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World. My series, “How to Build a Social Media Platform,” is available at Wordserve Water Cooler, an award-winning website for writers.
Join a Critique Group. Learning from other writers can be profitable, depending on the skill level of the parties involved. Not all critique groups are created equal, so choose wisely. I offer advice from my own critique experiences in Writing Critiques Versus Criticism.
Network Online and in Person. It’s better to do well at one social site where your potential readers are than to spread yourself too thin and accomplish little. Remember that social sites are a tool for your use, rather than the reverse. Don’t forget to network in person as well as online. Your readers may attend conventions or belong to groups you might want to join. Attending meetings of a local writing group is a good way to connect with other writers for mutual support. Agents, editors, and other writers all attend conferences,
Build a Business Plan. The best avice I’ve seen on this is was “The 7-Step Business Plan for Writers,” a guest post written by Angela Ackerman, author of The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide To Character Expression for Jane Friedman, co-founder and publisher of Scratch, a magazine about writing and money, and is the former publisher of Writer’s Digest.
Having a Writing Hobby
If you don’t want to make the sacrifices and investments to build a writing career but just want to write for fun, then treating writing as a hobby can be right for you. It’s also possible to start out with writing as a hobby while you focus on improving as a writer, and then turn what was a hobby into a business.
Whether to treat writing as a career or a hobby is an individual decision no one can make for you. I suggest setting aside some time for soul-searching, introspection, and prayer to help you determine the answer.
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