My Journey as a Writer – blog (part 8)

My Journey as a Writer documents my journey as I rediscover my love of writing, and push forward into a new career path. Watch for new posts on Mondays and Thursdays.

Part 8 includes – 

  • Writing as a hobby
  • Writing as a profession
  • Write – and learn – as much as you can

Writing as a hobby

I never thought of writing as a hobby. When I thought of hobbies, I thought of…well, arts and crafts stuff, I guess. Building little model cars. Stamp-collecting. Maybe knitting or sewing. Obviously, I had a very skewed view of hobbies and misunderstood them in the past.

Everyone needs a hobby or two. Hobbies can be a way to learn something new, pursue a passion, or find fulfillment and balance in your life. There’s something out there for everyone. 

Hobbies should do more than take up time and space. 

Writing can be a gratifying hobby. It can be productive, rewarding, and enriching while helping you discover the world around you and within yourself.

Writing as a hobby could also lead to a new career path.

Writing as a profession

I think a lot of people get caught up in the idea of becoming a famous author. It’s a dream job for some, and what a dream it is. 

I don’t want to become a writer for the money. Well, ok, that’s not 100% true, but let me explain. I don’t expect to get rich from my writing, and I’m not doing it for the money.

Most writers aren’t rich and famous. You’ve got to be “up there” to make big money and be well-known. But, in the right field, in the right industry, writing can be lucrative. Some professional writers make a comfortable living, even if they aren’t authors of books.

In terms of my writing aspirations, I want to be a writer who makes a comfortable living at it. 

Many employers looking for writers expect a Bachelor’s degree in English, Journalism, or something similar. That’s a regret I have. I should have stayed in school and obtained a degree. It’s never too late to go back, but a college degree was never a goal of mine. It’s still not a goal of mine. [You get to a point where the ship sails from the harbor, and it’s not coming back.] It feels weird to say that, maybe because it’s so honest. There’s an expectation that people should have a college degree. It’s funny, though. I see employment postings (both writing and others) where they require a Bachelor’s degree or a Master’s degree, and the position pays less than what I make now. That’s difficult to fathom.

Keep in mind – it’s not how much a job pays to start, but instead, how much is the earning potential. Money isn’t everything to consider – benefits, vacation, potential, commute, job satisfaction – it all factors into the dollar amount on your paycheck. 

So, don’t turn down a job because of the first paycheck. Think about the earning potential.

For a writer, I think your writing skills are more important than a college degree. Don’t get me wrong. A degree would undoubtedly help, both the writing on the actual degree and the effort you’ve put into getting the degree. A degree may open the door, but it will take more than a single piece of paper to keep the door from slamming in your face. You need to be able to prop the door open with something else of substance.

If a college degree isn’t an option, don’t give up on a writing career. Consider courses, certifications, or webinars to help improve your skills. Create a portfolio of your best work, and most importantly, keep writing. 

Not every writer is an author of books. Writers come in all shapes and sizes. Keep writing and define your own measure of success.

Write – and learn – as much as you can

Part of my journey is to experiment a bit. I want to write, but don’t know what I want to do with it yet. Even today, I’m still not sure yet and continuing to experiment. But, I’m starting to think that I want to focus on nonfiction.

I don’t want to learn everything about writing all at once. I want to learn it my way. If someone gave me a book telling me what to do, how to become a famous writer, sure, it would be tempting to read it. I’m sure there are books, instruction manuals, like that out there. And at times, especially if you want to publish your writing, you may wish to consult the experts. 

Writing is one of those crafts that takes practice to master. Not just practice, but a genuine, ongoing effort. I don’t think anyone is a “born writer.” Although, some of the great ones make it look damn easy. Practice makes you better, not perfect. I don’t strive for perfection – I strive to get better.

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