Friday, May 13, 2005

Is It a Career or a Hobby?

I cannot tell you the number of people who have said to me "I want to write a book," "I've been wanting to write this book for years," "I think I have a unique story to tell about my life..." The list goes on. Now, don't get me wrong, I think it is admirable to want to write a book. But trust me, it is more than a notion. Writing is a commitment. So when you decide that you want to write that book you need to also decide if you are a sprinter or a long distance runner. Are you writing for the short haul or because you truly have a calling.

Writing is not only putting pen to paper or fingers to keys. Writing is an art, it is a talent, it is a blessing. With our words, our visions we can take people to places they have never been, open hearts and minds, create dialogue and controversy. The old saying that "the pen is mightier than the sword," is still true. What you put down on paper will remain long after you are gone. It is a representation of you. It is like giving birth to a child and sending the child out into the world. As a parent would you send your child out into the world unpreprared, uneducated, unwordly, unclothed? Of course not. You would want to give the child the absolute best so that they are equipped to face the harshness of the world. In the writing arena that harshness is the reviewers and readers.

You want your work to be as prepared as you would prepare your child. You want it polished. And in order to do that, you cannot wake up tomorrow and decide to "be a writer." Writing is not something that "you become" but rather something that you "always have been." It is what you do, what you dream and fantasize about--not every now and then, but always.

To a true writer, the need to craft a story is like simply must.

So before jumping into the pool of established and aspiring authors, truly decide if this is a career, something that you must have, something that you want to see grow. And you know that you are willing to cut off friends, family and social time. That you are willing to invest in your career by taking classes, attending literary events, reading, reading, reading. Don't do it just for the money, (trust me, for most it ain't enough to quit your day job) or to see your name on a book cover. That's a hobby.

Look deep inside. Are you a sprinter or a long distance runner? How much are you willing to commit; a little or a lot. It is about ego or the love of the art?

The decision is yours! Happy writing.

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