While I have been writing for most of my life, there has been a huge shift for me over the last few years from being a hobby writer to being a professional writer. And what I’ve learned the most is that you have to think like a professional before you can be a professional.
Why do I say that?
Here are the hallmarks of my life as a hobbyist writer.
First, writing never comes first. Because I had to pay a mortgage, I always had to pick my job priorities and family priorities first. Writing always came last. It was reserved for “free” time. We all know how little free time we all have. So putting writing last means that it gets very little attention.
Second, writing habits focus around inspiration. When I lose inspiration, as a hobbyist, I stop writing. This is where Writer’s Block can derail an entire project. But when you’re a professional, you have to find ways around stalled inspiration. You can’t stop writing when you’re on deadline, and it’s good to cultivate those habits before you need them.
Third, I write whatever I want to write. It doesn’t matter what my editor wants. It doesn’t matter what my critique partners or writer’s group thinks. I don’t particularly care, as a hobbyist, what the “market” is doing. But once I know that I’m going to make money off my writing, I absolutely have to think about the market, and my editor, and my readers. I can no longer just willy-nilly do whatever I want. Unless I also don’t care if I pay my bills next year or not.
A lot of hobbyist writers are good, solid writers. And a lot of us (I include myself here because when I was a hobbyist, I definitely used to say these things) think that we could do a better job than whoever wrote the last really bad book we read. And maybe we could. But if we want to do it for a living, we have to do more than compare ourselves to other writers. And we need to do more than write when we feel like it. And we need to do more than write when we can squeeze it in. It just doesn’t work that way. You would never ask a doctor to squeeze in his office visits around the rest of his life. He’s a professional doctor. So during business hours, he’s doctoring. In the same way, during business hours, I am an author. I’m always writing or thinking about writing, but I definitely had to make the shift not long ago toward developing professional habits.
I like to think it’s made a difference in my career and my writing. I hope so.
What do you think? Do you have a hobby you’d like to turn into a profession? What steps do you plan to take to make that happen?
About the book
Publication Date: April 15, 2014
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Series: The Highland Renegades
Anne de Cheyne has a choice. She can play the dutiful daughter and allow her mother to sell her to a greasy English sheriff, or she can take control of her own life and find her own match. After a frightening run-in with her promised husband reveals a dark secret, she makes a desperate choice. Flight.
Aedan Donne needs easy money and no-questions-asked. When Milene de Cheyne offers him enough to pay all debts, requests complete silence, and pays half up front, just for a simple recovery, he can’t believe his luck… until he meets his mark. Anne’s beauty and passion ignite something Aedan can’t ignore, even as she leaves him in the dust. Suddenly, he finds himself wanting to capture the runaway Highland lady for himself.
The Highland Renegades Series
Book One: The Outcast Highlander
Book Two: The Runaway Highlander
Book Three: The Pirate Highlander — Coming Soon!
Buy the Book
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About the Author
R.L. Syme works at a youth theatre, teaching kids performing arts and musical performance classes/camps when she’s not writing. Otherwise, she’s putting her Seminary degree to good use writing romance novels. Let not all those systematic theology classes go to waste…
For more information please visit R.L. Syme’s website and blog. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
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