Writers Who Consider Writing a Job

Many writers write as a hobby. They may be working full-time or full-time mothers or fathers having a hard time writing more than a couple of hours a week. And for many writers, time is really at a premium. They can’t afford to write more than a few hours a week because of all of their other commitments.

If you are one of these writers, take note. First of all, I feel for you. For many years, I had a full-time job and tried to get some writing done in between times. I always DID do my writing, despite the fact that I taught 3 to 4 university courses per semester with sometimes upwards of 500 students all together and had to take workshops and courses as I was trying to complete my post-graduate degrees in Philosophy and Psychology. But here is the thing: I NEVER treated my writing as a hobby, even when I couldn’t devote 20 hours a week to my writing. I just always worked writing into my schedule, regardless of how packed it was. This requires a shift in attitude from passive, uncommitted to active and serious.

What I am trying to get at is that when you treat your writing as a hobby, you are setting yourself up for a lack of productivity. Also, you won’t be taking your writing seriously either. But if you treat it as a part-time job, for instance, you’ll be much more equipped to actually get to your desk and do some writing, even if it is only an hour or so a few times a week. The difference is in how seriously you take your writing. The bottom line is that if you treat your writing like a hobby, you don’t think that your writing is a serious venture in your life. However, if you treat your writing as a job, just like any job and important commitment that you have, you will take it VERY seriously.

So, the choice is yours.

Here are a few ways to determine if you are treating your writing as a hobby:

1. You don’t reinforce your writing time with your family by scheduling it and then showing up to write. Instead, you write in a very unpredictable manner. Sometimes you follow your schedule, but most times you don’t.

2. You feel torn between your writing and your duties to others. If something more important comes up, your writing is gone out the window. Then you feel guilty about it.

3. You don’t take your writing very seriously. You don’t wholeheartedly commit to your writing projects and complete them.

If you can relate to any of these points, you probably consider yourself to be a hobby writer. If you do, take heart. Try and decide if you want to take your writing to the next level. If you do, you must commit to your writing. Only you can do this, and when you do, your family will know that you are serious.

Treating Your Writing as a Job

Most non-writers don’t know the kind of time commitment that any writer has to make in order to be a successful writer. Most of you need to spend a lot of time writing and researching. This is all part of the job of writing. And writing, just as any job, is something that you have to take seriously in order to be successful.

Here are a few ways to make sure that you treat your writing as a job:

1. Show up and write when you schedule yourself to write. Don’t allow anything else to come in the way. When you’re going to work, do you allow other things, except emergencies, to come in the way for showing up at work? Probably not, and if you did, you would get fired. So, take your writing seriously.

2. Do your allotted amount of writing scheduled. So, if you sit down to write and you plan to write a half a chapter, make sure you complete it. This will give you the confidence that you need to be successful, and you will start trusting yourself more when you sit down to write.

3. Have your short-term and long-term goals very clearly displaced as you write so that you know how you are doing on each of them before and after each session. Take stock often, and make sure that you are progressing at the pace you planned initially.

4. Take stock often and re-evaluate your progress. If you are not completing your short-term or long-term writing goals as planned, perhaps you planned to do too little or far too much. See where the problems are and recreate your writing goals. This will help you to be successful in the present and future.

By taking these steps, you will be ensuring that you treat your writing as a job. Writers who treat their writing like a hobby don’t do much and don’t make the kinds of commitments that they need in order to be successful in their careers. So, make the commitment to your writing projects, and show up to write, and you will be surprised by how much you get done.

So, can you take steps to treat your writing as a job?

~ Irene S. Roth


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