Amateur Writers vs. Professional Writer

Over the last few years, I ‘ve realized that I am a writer. I have written a collection of essays, poetry, blog posts, and books over the last forty years and it sunk in that I might be a writer at heart.  If I had a nickel for every word I’ve written, heck, even a penny would do, I’d have a nice lump of money to try and spend frivolously. I’m sure I could find some way to spend it foolishly or at least it would be fun to try.

However, I’ve realized that I am an amateur writer, with a longing to be a professional. When I realized this, I stopped and wondered why. I have been writing since my teens, I want to write and there are new methods of publishing. When I recognized that I am a writer a few years ago, I started working with my husband to self-publish our work and get paid for it. Yet, there is only one book published and I find myself stuck in finishing other projects.  

I look back and I realized that I lack discipline in completing my projects. I prefer the idea of new things, of starting fresh and when things get hard, I start looking for the next new thing.  I write ‘when I’m in the mood’, or ‘when I feel inspired’. I  was patting myself  on the back that I have written a complete novel, the start of a trilogy and I have an idea for another novel. Yet, I haven’t finished any of those projects. I have captured the words but not performed the editing and rewriting. Waiting around for inspiration to strike isn’t going to get these projects finished.  I’m writing like an amateur, as a hobby, not as a professional who would like to get paid. 

I realized, for the professional, it isn’t about the right time, it’s about the work. Professional writing is writing and editing, day after day, finishing projects, even if the time isn’t quite right, the roof is leaking, and the cat has just puked up on the bed. At times, I will get bored, but It’s time to capture my words, edit my rough drafts, and publish what I’ve written.

Photos by J.T. Harpster