PDA

View Full Version : Writing as a "hobby"



DancingMaenid
06-29-2010, 12:08 PM
How many people write as a hobby or a spare-time passion as opposed to wanting to do it for a living or having serious publication goals?

I used to think I really wanted to write as a living, but I found that gearing myself towards that really did a number on my creativity and depressed me. I was going to major in English for a while, with the intent of focusing on writing, but switched my major to engineering. Personally, I'm happy with the thought of writing in my spare time, for enjoyment, and having an unrelated career.

I'd like to get what I write published, certainly. It's just not really a goal for me. I'm still serious about writing, and care a lot about the craft. It's a big passion for me. Just not as a career, I don't think.

Anyone else in that boat?

citymouse
06-29-2010, 01:22 PM
Yep. I began writing out of boredom and because I could. I never though of publishing until a friend read my first novel. Praise turned my head but only slightly. I really don't care about the money but I do like being read.
C

Ryan_Sullivan
06-29-2010, 01:25 PM
I love writing. It used to be a hobby, but I've devoted more and more time to it and now it's becoming a career. That said, it's not an exclusive one. Even if I could survive comfortably on money from writing, I wouldn't want it to be my sole career. My love of literature and academic composition are equal to my love of writing, and I plan on going to grad school and teaching. I don't think I could give that up. So, for me, writing is a career, but not something to depend on to take care of all my needs.

KTC
06-29-2010, 02:32 PM
I write as a hobby. But I also get a lot of my stuff published. I even freelance. I have no plans to make it my career...but I am constantly submitting. To me, it's okay to make money out of your hobby. I know it sounds lame to write magazine/newspaper articles as a hobby...but whatever. It's what I like to do in my spare time.

kaitie
06-29-2010, 03:13 PM
Hm...nope. I want to be Stephen King. Only, you know...cuter.

shaldna
06-29-2010, 03:19 PM
I write because I enjoy it.

Even if I were never to publish anything else, I would still write.

kaitie
06-29-2010, 03:22 PM
I write because I enjoy it.

Even if I were never to publish anything else, I would still write.

Okay, this too. But still. Stephen King.

Alpha Echo
06-29-2010, 03:35 PM
I've always written because I love to write. It wasn't really until I finished my first novel (that SUCKED) that I started thinking that maybe one day I'd be published. Although...thinking about it, there were times growing up that I would say I wanted to grow up and be an author on the shelves. I just didn't take it seriously until I had that first full length novel written.

scarletpeaches
06-29-2010, 03:43 PM
Hm...nope. I want to be Stephen King. Only, you know...cuter.And presumably without the truck on your head.

kaitie
06-29-2010, 03:53 PM
That goes along with being cute.

KTC
06-29-2010, 03:57 PM
And presumably without the truck on your head.

i believe it was a van.

Amadan
06-29-2010, 04:03 PM
I did some professional (not fiction) writing for a while, but it was something I stumbled into, and it made a bit of extra cash, but not enough to quit my day job. And now that I am back into writing for enjoyment, yes, I'd like to be published more, and I'd like to make some money at it, but I have no expectation that it will become my profession. Unless, y'know, my first novel gets optioned by Hollywood and then I can live like Stephen King*. Without the truck on my head**.

* I'm jealous that he writes as much as he does and still has time to read 80-100 books per year
** Actually, it was a van. And it didn't actually go over him, it just knocked him into a ditch.

scarletpeaches
06-29-2010, 04:04 PM
i believe it was a van.Van, truck, whatever. It had wheels and drove over him.

I can't imagine he lay in the middle of the road, his last conscious thought being, "I must get this right for KTC's sake."

Jamesaritchie
06-29-2010, 04:13 PM
I can't imagine writing as a hobby. Writing doesn't have to be about the money, but I just can't imagine why anyone would want to write without being published, or why anyone would inflict a hobby on others. It's too much like the old lady showing her medals.

DeleyanLee
06-29-2010, 04:19 PM
I can't imagine writing as a hobby. Writing doesn't have to be about the money, but I just can't imagine why anyone would want to write without being published, or why anyone would inflict a hobby on others. It's too much like the old lady showing her medals.

But people do that with all kinds of arts and crafts all the time. Painting, sculture, ceramics, playing musical instruments, singing, photography. Tons of time, energy, money, enthusiasm all into something that the person just enjoys doing and, occasionally, will show other people or not. I don't see any difference between crocheting a blanket and writing a book for one's own amusment and enjoyment--both of which I've done multiple times over the years.

I guess it's where you put the value: in the doing or in the finished product.

Amadan
06-29-2010, 04:23 PM
Van, truck, whatever. It had wheels and drove over him.

I can't imagine he lay in the middle of the road, his last conscious thought being, "I must get this right for KTC's sake."

Actually, he recounted the incident in great detail in his memoir On Writing.

I'd say he probably wasn't thinking about how to recount it at the time, but from the way he says his mind works, it's likely that he actually was.


I can't imagine writing as a hobby. Writing doesn't have to be about the money, but I just can't imagine why anyone would want to write without being published, or why anyone would inflict a hobby on others. It's too much like the old lady showing her medals.

Never heard of fan fiction, I take it.

Shadow_Ferret
06-29-2010, 04:24 PM
Yes. Ever since day one I wanted to be published. I've written, polished, edited, and submitted for decades. And got nothing but rejections in return. I'm tired of it.

I've realized I'm just not good enough and now I just write for fun now.

seun
06-29-2010, 04:25 PM
I can't imagine writing as a hobby. Writing doesn't have to be about the money, but I just can't imagine why anyone would want to write without being published, or why anyone would inflict a hobby on others. It's too much like the old lady showing her medals.

Because a book doesn't gain worth only when it's published.

Shadow_Ferret
06-29-2010, 04:26 PM
Because a book doesn't gain worth only when it's published.

It doesn't?

DeleyanLee
06-29-2010, 04:29 PM
It doesn't?

Silly Ferret.

CaroGirl
06-29-2010, 04:32 PM
I've always held getting published as a goal for my writing. It's a long, long road. I have to balance that goal with a more lucrative career, you know, until I become Stephen King. Although I write "on the side," so to speak, it's not exactly just a hobby.

heyjude
06-29-2010, 04:36 PM
I started writing seriously as a hobby to keep me from killing my kids. It wasn't until I finished the first book that I realized how badly I wanted it to be a career.

seun
06-29-2010, 04:40 PM
I started writing seriously as a hobby to keep me from killing my kids. It wasn't until I finished the first book that I realized how badly I wanted it to be a career.

You want a career out of killing your kids? :D

heyjude
06-29-2010, 04:43 PM
You want a career out of killing your kids? :D

Brief career, that. :D Probably the pay sucks, too.

I worded that very badly. Trying again: I needed a hobby to keep myself sane with small children. Better? I'm not homicidal (much) (often) (after the third cup of coffee a day), honest.

kaitie
06-29-2010, 04:45 PM
I started writing seriously as a hobby to keep me from killing my kids. It wasn't until I finished the first book that I realized how badly I wanted it to be a career.

I've always wanted it. Since I was about twelve years old. Goofy, isn't it?

People are always asking me what I want to do with my life, and I can't give them the real answers. The only two things I've ever really wanted to do is be a writer and a mom. That's it. It just sounds kind of goofy to say that my career goal is focused around something that's more just a dream than anything.

CaroGirl
06-29-2010, 04:49 PM
I've always wanted it. Since I was about twelve years old. Goofy, isn't it?

People are always asking me what I want to do with my life, and I can't give them the real answers. The only two things I've ever really wanted to do is be a writer and a mom. That's it. It just sounds kind of goofy to say that my career goal is focused around something that's more just a dream than anything.
I have grown into the ability to say: I want to be a novelist. And I'm only...well, older. Practice saying this phrase in the mirror over and over, and then, perhaps, to your pets. Before long, you'll be able to say it to other people without flinching.

heyjude
06-29-2010, 04:50 PM
People are always asking me what I want to do with my life, and I can't give them the real answers. The only two things I've ever really wanted to do is be a writer and a mom. That's it. It just sounds kind of goofy to say that my career goal is focused around something that's more just a dream than anything.

Oh no it doesn't. And being a mom and being a writer are two of the most wonderful, exciting things I can think of. Hold your head up high when you say it. Not a goofy thing about it.

Sometimes it feels that way to me, too--the dream-like aspect. But it's not so different than any other dream, is it? My dh wanted to be an engineer. He learned the basics, then he learned the trade, then he learned the specifics of the KIND of engineering he wanted to do, then he went out and found himself a job doing it. He has a great first job story that depended on timing and gutsiness as much as talent. Yes, a little different route than we take as writers, but the idea is the same: we learn, we practice, we work hard, we persevere. There's no shame in any of it. :)

Chris P
06-29-2010, 04:50 PM
As a hobby. I love the thrill of publishing my shorts, and I can't yet imagine what it will feel like having my novels published and even more so do well (be still my heart!). But I have a day job that I went to 12 years of college to get, pays better than it needs to, and comes with its own thrills.

I'm still going to go all out to be published and make a boatload of money doing it, but life's still good without it. Writing just makes it more so.

kaitie
06-29-2010, 04:54 PM
Oh no it doesn't. And being a mom and being a writer are two of the most wonderful, exciting things I can think of. Hold your head up high when you say it. Not a goofy thing about it.

Sometimes it feels that way to me, too--the dream-like aspect. But it's not so different than any other dream, is it? My dh wanted to be an engineer. He learned the basics, then he learned the trade, then he learned the specifics of the KIND of engineering he wanted to do, then he went out and found himself a job doing it. He has a great first job story that depended on timing and gutsiness as much as talent. Yes, a little different route than we take as writers, but the idea is the same: we learn, we practice, we work hard, we persevere. There's no shame in any of it. :)

I guess that's true, but it's got that element that the final decisions come from outside yourself.

I think a lot of it comes from when I was younger and used to say I wanted to be a writer, the response was always that I needed to worry about finding a real job because it wasn't likely to happen. :tongue

I should probably mention that I've never been particularly talented at writing. I'm just persistent as hell. ;)

C.M.C.
06-29-2010, 06:06 PM
It's definitely a hobby. If it were anything else, it wouldn't be fun.

aadams73
06-29-2010, 06:16 PM
The only two things I've ever really wanted to do is be a writer and a mom. That's it. It just sounds kind of goofy to say that my career goal is focused around something that's more just a dream than anything.

It's not goofy at all. Those are my goals, too. If others have any kind of problem with that, well, that's on them, not you.

Dreams aren't a bad thing to have. :)

Bubastes
06-29-2010, 06:18 PM
How many people write as a hobby or a spare-time passion as opposed to wanting to do it for a living or having serious publication goals?


For me, these are not mutually exclusive choices. Writing is my passion AND my future career. I enjoy the business side as much as the creative side.

DeleyanLee
06-29-2010, 06:23 PM
I think a lot of it comes from when I was younger and used to say I wanted to be a writer, the response was always that I needed to worry about finding a real job because it wasn't likely to happen. :tongue

I got that a lot too, especially from my father. ("Real people don't get published" was his favorite reminder.)

I look at it this way: What's a job? It's something I do to pay the bills and survive so I can do the things I really love doing. Maybe that's the wrong attitude about 'job'--and it doesn't mean I don't like my job, mind you--but that's what life has taught me 'job' means. Why would I want to change writing from being the something I love to being the something I do just to keep the bills paid?

Now, IF something I love pays the bills, that's been marvelous, but that's not what I want out of writing anymore. But I've gotten over the mad need in my life to publish to validate my writing and all the years I've spent working on it. The validation comes from inside me, not outside me and that's where I'm happiest right now.

Shadow_Ferret
06-29-2010, 06:41 PM
I look at it this way: What's a job? It's something I do to pay the bills and survive so I can do the things I reBut I've gotten over the mad need in my life to publish to validate my writing and all the years I've spent working on it. The validation comes from inside me, not outside me and that's where I'm happiest right now.

Good for you. I wish I could think that. To me, publishing is the only validation. I've always been highly critical of my own work and to not ever succeed only seems to validate my worthlessness as a writer.

Amadan
06-29-2010, 06:46 PM
Good for you. I wish I could think that. To me, publishing is the only validation. I've always been highly critical of my own work and to not ever succeed only seems to validate my worthlessness as a writer.

If you don't enjoy it, don't do it.

Kalyke
06-29-2010, 07:18 PM
I studied writing in college, but to become a tech writer/editor. I found I loved creative writing and took several elective classes. It became my passion, but I did it as a hobby for about 10 years. Deep down I have always had the goal of being good enough to publish. Now I am working on that goal, but I continue to write what I want.

kaitiepaige17
06-29-2010, 07:30 PM
Even if I never get published, I'll still write. Alas, I imagine one day I'll be ninety years old still writing YA novels without ever being published.

CaroGirl
06-29-2010, 07:39 PM
Even if I never get published, I'll still write.
I wouldn't. If I knew, absolutely KNEW I'd never, ever be published, I wouldn't write. Thing is, you never know.

Shadow_Ferret
06-29-2010, 07:45 PM
I wouldn't. If I knew, absolutely KNEW I'd never, ever be published, I wouldn't write. Thing is, you never know.

This.

And I think you can know.

CaroGirl
06-29-2010, 07:48 PM
This.

And I think you can know.
Maybe, but I guess I haven't got there yet.

I still (perhaps naively) figure, the only story that absolutely can't be published is the one that isn't written.

DeleyanLee
06-29-2010, 07:56 PM
I wouldn't. If I knew, absolutely KNEW I'd never, ever be published, I wouldn't write. Thing is, you never know.


This.

And I think you can know.

I think I can know whether or not a specific book is publishable. However, I also know that my assessment can be wrong and that I don't know nothing at all about the market and what's selling or what it takes to break into it. (The story of Mrs. King pulling Carrie out of the trash after Stephen decided it was crap comes easily to mind.)

I don't think I can know for certain whether or not I, as an author, will ever be publishable because I cannot be sure how much I may grow, change and learn in the years to come.

I do know that if I give up, I'll never achieve anything, be it publication, improvement or enjoyment of what I'm doing. It all depends on what I choose to do it for and with it.

eqb
06-29-2010, 08:15 PM
If I had not signed with my shiny agent, and she had not sold my books, I'd still be writing.

But...I would still need readers, somehow and someway. It's how I'm wired.

Kate Thornton
06-29-2010, 08:30 PM
I can't imagine writing as a hobby. Writing doesn't have to be about the money, but I just can't imagine why anyone would want to write without being published, or why anyone would inflict a hobby on others. It's too much like the old lady showing her medals.


Hey, I resemble that remark! And anyone who wants to see my medals need but ask..!

I'm not sure what a hobby is - I write & sell stuff, I paint and sell stuff, I volunteer at an art gallery and pay the bills with my retirement checks. All these are serious and absorbing endeavors for me.

I painted before I knew how to show & market my work - just as I wrote before I knew how to get my stuff published and in many instances paid for. I love getting checks. But I love the processes of writing & painting, too. I started writing about 12 years ago when I was still actively employed full time in another, different and more lucrative career, the one that made my retirement comfortable.

The serious striving to finish the story or book or painting and get it shown/published and ultimately sold is very strong - maybe a compulsion, even. I don't know what a hobby is, though.

If you had inherited wealth, would you still write for publication?

I would.

shaldna
06-29-2010, 08:31 PM
but I just can't imagine why anyone would want to write without being published, or why anyone would inflict a hobby on others.


because some of us enjoy the process of creating something.

the end goals may differ, but that doesn't make one or the other any less for it.

publishing isn't everyone's goal.

i like to sing in the car too, should I stop doing that because I'll never get a recording contract?

Kweei
06-29-2010, 08:39 PM
Writing as a career has always been my goal since I was very little. It's been the one consistent goal I've had in my life.

However, only recently has it become a serious goal. And even then I need to commit myself more. I'm amazing at making excuses because I have so much self-doubt.

But it doesn't mean I can't have other goals. I love to teach, for example. I love academia.

I'll likely be one of those two-career types like many writers are.

That's me. I know plenty of people who just write as a hobby. I think that's fine as long as they aren't using the "writing as a hobby" as a crutch since they fear rejection.

DancingMaenid
06-29-2010, 08:46 PM
Personally, I just find that when I focus on the idea of trying to be published, it puts a big mental block on my writing. I like a little bit of a challenge when it comes to writing, as a motivating factor, but I've always wanted to write because it's fun for me, and I think writing as a career, and making a business out of it, would really take away a lot of what I like. I also know I'm not a disciplined enough writer to pull it off.

I definitely like being published and want to get my big projects published at some point, because I want people to read them. But at this point, publication is more of a "what-if" for after I get something finished than a goal that I'm keeping in mind.

Of course, that can always change, too.

kuwisdelu
06-29-2010, 09:39 PM
I write with the goal of publication in mind, but not to pay the bills. It's not my career, but I'd call it more than a hobby. To me, it means that I can write for myself first, and worry about marketability secondly, because while I'd like to be published, I'm not counting on it for the check.

eqb
06-29-2010, 10:17 PM
...the idea of trying to be published, it puts a big mental block on my writing. I like a little bit of a challenge when it comes to writing, as a motivating factor, but I've always wanted to write because it's fun for me, and I think writing as a career, and making a business out of it, would really take away a lot of what I like.

I know that now I have six books under contract, the joy has not disappeared. It's intensified.

(There was a moment at Book Expo 2010, when I looked up from signing books and saw *many* dozens of people in line. I signed well over 100 copies in half an hour. OMG, that was energizing. Oh yeah, I want to do that *again.*)

DeleyanLee
06-29-2010, 10:40 PM
I know that now I have six books under contract, the joy has not disappeared. It's intensified.

(There was a moment at Book Expo 2010, when I looked up from signing books and saw *many* dozens of people in line. I signed well over 100 copies in half an hour. OMG, that was energizing. Oh yeah, I want to do that *again.*)

You've just defined my second and third level of Hell on Earth. ;)

Different strokes, as the saying goes.

Bubastes
06-29-2010, 11:06 PM
I know that now I have six books under contract, the joy has not disappeared. It's intensified.

(There was a moment at Book Expo 2010, when I looked up from signing books and saw *many* dozens of people in line. I signed well over 100 copies in half an hour. OMG, that was energizing. Oh yeah, I want to do that *again.*)


You've just defined my second and third level of Hell on Earth. ;)

Different strokes, as the saying goes.

One person's hell is another person's heaven. eqb's experience sounds exhilarating to me!

eqb
06-30-2010, 12:20 AM
You've just defined my second and third level of Hell on Earth. ;)

Heh. I completely understand that reaction. I'm really an introvert, but I can pretend to be extroverted for short bursts. Then I have to hide in a quiet room for a while. I was glad that my signing and interviews were all in a row, and all done before I had time to panic.

But oh, what made this experience so wonderful for me was that I saw people who wanted to read my story. *That* part was like stepping into a magical world.


Different strokes, as the saying goes.

Absolutely! It's what makes the world interesting.

Shadow_Ferret
06-30-2010, 12:35 AM
If you had inherited wealth, would you still write for publication?

I would.
My publishing goal isn't to make money, but to become famous. To gain name recognition. Or create a character that becomes a household word.



(There was a moment at Book Expo 2010, when I looked up from signing books and saw *many* dozens of people in line. I signed well over 100 copies in half an hour. OMG, that was energizing. Oh yeah, I want to do that *again.*)

As an introvert, I'd be terrified, I'd be shaking and having trouble making eye contact, but afterwards, yes! I'd be exhilarated. Because that's what writing is all about. Having dozens, hundreds, even thousands reading your novel and wanting to meet you.

KTC
06-30-2010, 12:42 AM
I wouldn't. If I knew, absolutely KNEW I'd never, ever be published, I wouldn't write. Thing is, you never know.

i would. i don't write to be published. i write because i love writing. it wouldn't matter if i didn't get published. i admit that lately i've been trying and trying to get published...but still...i'd write it somebody said YOU WILL NEVER BE PUBLISHED. i just wouldn't have to worry about submitting any more. sounds like freedom to me.

kuwisdelu
06-30-2010, 12:50 AM
My publishing goal isn't to make money, but to become famous. To gain name recognition. Or create a character that becomes a household word.


i would. i don't write to be published. i write because i love writing. it wouldn't matter if i didn't get published. i admit that lately i've been trying and trying to get published...but still...i'd write it somebody said YOU WILL NEVER BE PUBLISHED. i just wouldn't have to worry about submitting any more. sounds like freedom to me.

I write with the goal of publication, but not for the money.

I just hope that one day my writing will touch some readers' lives in the same way my favorite authors' books have for me.

scarletpeaches
06-30-2010, 01:01 AM
If someone told me I'd never get an agent, or never get another publication deal, I'd delete all my files and bin the computers.

I wouldn't want that constant reminder of being an also-ran or a nearly-was.

KTC
06-30-2010, 01:13 AM
If someone told me I'd never get an agent, or never get another publication deal, I'd delete all my files and bin the computers.

I wouldn't want that constant reminder of being an also-ran or a nearly-was.

but do you not have a motivation to create? i DO hear what you're saying. for me, though, i just have this inborn desire to create. if i wasn't writing, i'd probably turn back to painting/sketching. i just have to have a creative outlet...no matter the outcome. christ, i used to have a shitload of canvases---i'd finish one and move on to the next. i wouldn't even let people LOOK at them.

i get it...i just couldn't stop writing merely because of the surety that it would never find a home outside of myself.

KTC
06-30-2010, 01:13 AM
and, hey, unicorns are stupid

scarletpeaches
06-30-2010, 01:17 AM
I do have the urge to create. That's it exactly.

And, this will sound wanky but I reckon you'll understand. Maybe others will think I'm being melodramatic.

Because this urge is so strong, every rejection feels like I'm being stabbed. It's the only thing (I think) I'm good at, or at least, it's what I'm best at.

If I keep hearing no, no, no then every attempt brings with it a greater risk to my self-esteem, so if I knew for sure I'd never 'make it', I'd have to give up for the sake of my own sanity. Every piece I created, while knowing it would never be published, would be a constant reminder that I just wasn't good enough.

KTC
06-30-2010, 01:22 AM
I do have the urge to create. That's it exactly.

And, this will sound wanky but I reckon you'll understand. Maybe others will think I'm being melodramatic.

Because this urge is so strong, every rejection feels like I'm being stabbed. It's the only thing (I think) I'm good at, or at least, it's what I'm best at.

If I keep hearing no, no, no then every attempt brings with it a greater risk to my self-esteem, so if I knew for sure I'd never 'make it', I'd have to give up for the sake of my own sanity. Every piece I created, while knowing it would never be published, would be a constant reminder that I just wasn't good enough.

Yeah. I do get it. I get it, well. It makes a lot of sense. It's that whole positive feedback thing for me that gets me riled and going, actually. So I could see how it would be to be guaranteed to never get that.

Let me put it this way...if I were on a desert island, I'd find a way to write. Then again, I'd probably be squeezing little animals to death and using their entrails to paint hieroglyphs on cave walls. Art must thrive...and persevere...For me.

But I totally get where you're coming from. On a different day, I could have written the same post. (which scares me not a little!)

scarletpeaches
06-30-2010, 01:29 AM
I'm hoping it's a temporary thing. Not you agreeing with me - I mean me feeling like this!

I still watch movies of my story ideas in my head though. I can shut down the computer, put away the pen and paper, even turn my back on reading other people's books, but I can't switch my brain off.

Ken
06-30-2010, 02:27 AM
... not with writing. From day one I wanted to make a career out if it, despite the immense odds. I do have hobbies though that I enjoy and that I haven't ever thought of making a career out of. So I can relate to where you're coming from. Writing for enjoyment is perfectly fine.

Shadow_Ferret
06-30-2010, 03:04 AM
but do you not have a motivation to create?
Yes, I do. But I can do that in my mind. What's the point of going through all the work of writing and editing if you know you'll never be published? Self-satisfaction? Again. I get that just thinking of the story, I wouldn't need to record it. In fact, writing it often RUINS the story. The stories never come out on paper as good as they were in my head. I need some sort of cyber probe to just think the story into reality.


And, this will sound wanky but I reckon you'll understand. Maybe others will think I'm being melodramatic.

Because this urge is so strong, every rejection feels like I'm being stabbed. It's the only thing (I think) I'm good at, or at least, it's what I'm best at.

If I keep hearing no, no, no then every attempt brings with it a greater risk to my self-esteem, so if I knew for sure I'd never 'make it', I'd have to give up for the sake of my own sanity. Every piece I created, while knowing it would never be published, would be a constant reminder that I just wasn't good enough.

This. Exactly. I think SP creeped into my head and looked around, because this is how I feel exactly.

scarletpeaches
06-30-2010, 03:05 AM
Me and Fuzzface. Siblings under the skin.

Or...fur, in his case.

Hallen
06-30-2010, 03:28 AM
How many people write as a hobby or a spare-time passion as opposed to wanting to do it for a living or having serious publication goals?

What makes you think that somebody writing as a hobby wouldn't have serious publication goals? I call it a hobby because I'm not a professional. That doesn't mean I don't have publication goals. I want people to read (and love ;) ) my stuff.

Cranky
06-30-2010, 03:29 AM
I write because I want to, because it's something I've always done. I take it far more seriously than I used to, so it's not a hobby. But it's not a career path for me, I don't think. I'm still struggling with this whole concept that while I might not suck, I may not be *good enough*, either.

I think I could truly have my publishing ambitions satisfied if I had one short story sold to a pro market. Just one. That'd be all the validation I need, heh. I'd still keep writing, because I always have and always will, but I won't feel this internal pressure to *know* that other people think my work is 1) really good, good enough they think others will want to read it and 2) worth writing me a check for. :D

KTC
06-30-2010, 03:40 AM
I'm still struggling with this whole concept that while I might not suck, I may not be *good enough*, either.

i hear ya! sometimes i want to just tell the people who support me to shut up. (-; it's like this promise that keeps me going. but the 'other' people...they don't share the enthusiasm that my supporters show me. (-:

scarletpeaches
06-30-2010, 03:41 AM
i hear ya! sometimes i want to just tell the people who support me to shut up. (-; it's like this promise that keeps me going. but the 'other' people...they don't share the enthusiasm that my supporters show me. (-:I just repped you for this post.

Nightmelody
06-30-2010, 04:06 AM
I am serious about my writing and don't consider it a hobby--but I am by nature a short story writer. The longest work I've written so far is 40k.

So I am realistic.

I don't think it is either live on your writing income or it's a hobby. Many writers are professionals and still have a regular day job.

To actually make a living I would either have to publish many novellas with the bigger epubs every year and have great sales on all of them, or get picked up for print and get out several novel length works each year. Time wise, I don't see that happening. I will be going back to college full time this fall, and also substitute teaching. My hope is that I will have a little more time for writing than I do working full time.

I'm working on the novel thing.

Rhoda Nightingale
06-30-2010, 04:12 AM
I think if someone told me I'd never be published, would never get an agent, would never sell anything, I'd say, "WILL TOO! YOU JUST WATCH!" and keep going anyway. Because a) what do they know? I don't quit, ever, and someone telling me I should just adds fuel to the fire, and b) I've been writing for as long as I remember, since LONG before it ever occurred to me that I might pursue writing as a career--and I'll likely keep on doing it long after I decide that career won't happen. IF I get to that point, which I don't see happening anytime soon.

I'm not sure what it means to call something a "hobby." Something you do for pure pleasure, that you don't necessarily get paid for, but if you do then bully for you? By that definition I guess that writing counts as a "hobby" for me right now, because I haven't sold anything yet. But I don't think my attitude towards fiction, reading and writing it, and what it means to me personally, will change if/when I get sold.

Cranky
06-30-2010, 04:25 AM
i hear ya! sometimes i want to just tell the people who support me to shut up. (-; it's like this promise that keeps me going. but the 'other' people...they don't share the enthusiasm that my supporters show me. (-:

Well, these "other people" need to get to drinkin' some Kevin Kool-Aid, because, without a doubt, you are absolutely *good enough*. So there. :tongue

kaitie
06-30-2010, 06:02 AM
Yes, I do. But I can do that in my mind. What's the point of going through all the work of writing and editing if you know you'll never be published?

See, I do agree with this. If I knew something wasn't going to be published, I wouldn't put the same amount of effort into editing. Yeah, I'd give it a read-through or two until I was satisfied, but I certainly wouldn't be spending months revising and trying to make it the best. My friends and family would still read it. I think of it kind of like training for the Olympics. At the moment, I'm aiming high so I'm putting my absolute best into everything. If I wasn't aiming high and was just doing it for fun, it would be something I just did a couple of times a week to stay in shape and for stress relief. No point in training six hours a day without a big goal there to strive for, is there?

Thing is, like someone else said, how could we know? The only way to find out is to try, and I'm someone who thinks that most people who keep working and are persistent will eventually get there.

Now, really getting to make a career of it, that's another matter. But heck, I'd settle for something to help pay back my student loans. ;)

B.L. Robinson
06-30-2010, 06:07 AM
I write so that I can get the stories out of my head. It's so cluttered in there that manageable space is now at a premium. I write as a hobby I suppose, since I have no great dreams of grandeur and probably would handle it by buying an island and surrounding it with sharks with frickin' laser beams on their heads to keep out the annoying paparazzi and such.
I do occasionally submit a query or a sample of a novel to agents and/or publishers on the off chance that one of them will take a chance on an unknown writer with a couple novels already finished in a series, and the third at a halfway point towards completion, but file away the rejection letters with the rest of them under "People with no vision" in my filing cabinet.
I do have some friends and facebook fans who buy my work as soon as it comes out through Lulu, and they, of course being the good fans that they are, tell me how much they liked the book, and I do so appreciate them for the few dollars they put in my pocket. But I really write for fun, and to tell the stories and sometimes make people use a bit of their brains if I do it right. If I put more effort into it, I could probably annoy an agent into at least presenting my work, but I have spent a lot of years avoiding that sort of work, so will continue on, using shady grammar and not knowing exactly what a syntax is ( I imagine it as originating in Vegas for some reason...) and telling my little fantasy stories, and strange short stories about sock monkeys and aliens and ants and the like. At least when I am gone from this earthly plane, my kids will have something to show their kids and their kids kids..."See that book... yeah, the one under the short leg of the coffee table? Your great grandfather wrote that. Never made much money, wasn't rich or famous, but he enjoyed what he did immensely." And really, what more could I ask for?

thothguard51
06-30-2010, 06:40 AM
Lets face it, we all started writing as a hobby, some of us later in life than others. We continue to write for the love of telling stories, even if we do it badly.

The problem with hobby writing as I see it is if we treat our writing as a hobby, then 9 out of 10 of us will continue to write on a hobby level. I have no problem with this per say, but I think most hobbyist eventually want to see if they have what it takes to on a more professional level.

Same with artist, photographers and other art forms...

kuwisdelu
06-30-2010, 07:00 AM
The problem with hobby writing as I see it is if we treat our writing as a hobby, then 9 out of 10 of us will continue to write on a hobby level. I have no problem with this per say, but I think most hobbyist eventually want to see if they have what it takes to on a more professional level.

Alternatively, sometimes hobbyists can produce something better if the professional is only doing something for the pay rather than the passion.

Mr. Anonymous
06-30-2010, 07:00 AM
I want to write as more than a hobby, but right now, as my parents remind me, I'm not making any money from it, so it is just a hobby. lol.

kuwisdelu
06-30-2010, 07:02 AM
I want to write as more than a hobby, but right now, as my parents remind me, I'm not making any money from it, so it is just a hobby. lol.

Just because you're not making any money from it doesn't mean it's "just" a hobby.

"Hobby" doesn't always convey how much something means to you. I prefer "passion" when it comes to writing.

friendlyhobo
06-30-2010, 09:34 AM
I want to write as more than a hobby, but right now, as my parents remind me, I'm not making any money from it, so it is just a hobby. lol.

My older and oh so successful brother said something like this. I told him to shove it. I don't know what relationship you have with your parents, but there is always that option.

Really though, just because someone thinks what you do is a hobby doesn't mean it is.

frimble3
06-30-2010, 09:57 AM
I don't think I ever really wanted to be a writer. I know I don't want it now. When I was eleven, it dawned on me that people wrote books. That every single book I ever read (and books have been the love of my life, all of my life) was written by a person.

For the sake of complete disclosure the book that broke this barrier in my head was the Reader's Digest Condensed Books version of "Bushbaby" by Martin Woodhouse. Why this flipped the switch when Asimov, Bradbury, Rumer Godden and dozens of pony books didn't, I don't know.

Since then, my interest in writing has been an extension of my interest in books. How is this done, why did that work, what choices did the author make? One way of exploring that is by trying to do things myself. Oh, the time I spent world building, or doing character sketches. Some worked, some didn't and sometimes I'd think, "That's good, that could be something." But I don't have the drive or the interest to make something out of it. I think of something new and put the old aside. It's a hobby in the sense that it's something I do to please myself and to learn from.

PoppysInARow
06-30-2010, 10:05 AM
I can't imagine not making a life out of my writing. I've been writing stories for as long as I can remember. Before I could read I put together letters in the hopes that they spelled out a word. Writing is a lifelong passion for me. I don't want writing to be my only career, mostly because I'd love to get out and do things, but I definitely want it to be part of my living.

CAWriter
06-30-2010, 11:25 AM
Writing for publication and writing to make a living have become two distinct things for me. Clearly, you can't make a living at writing if you don't publish, but the converse isn't at all true. You can publish much and not make enough to make a living at it.

So, I do write with the aim of continuing to publish, but I don't currently live under the false delusion that writing will generate a "living" for me.

Terie
06-30-2010, 11:54 AM
Writing for publication and writing to make a living have become two distinct things for me. Clearly, you can't make a living at writing if you don't publish, but the converse isn't at all true. You can publish much and not make enough to make a living at it.

So, I do write with the aim of continuing to publish, but I don't currently live under the false delusion that writing will generate a "living" for me.

Word.

Luckily for me, I have a well-paying job that's also writing. But the fiction, which is my passion, is still what I do as my 'night job'. If I get to where it pays the bills, that's just bonus, but it certainly isn't in my plans.

OTOH, if I knew I'd never sell another book, that wouldn't stop me writing. So I don't have any problem whatsoever imagining that others write just for the fun of it.

Similarly, professional bicycle racers often no longer ride for fun, professional baseball players often no longer play for fun, and so on. But surely all of them can imagine why others do those things for fun.

Writing is no different. If you want to write just for the fun of it, there's nothing wrong with that at all. :)

Mr. Anonymous
07-02-2010, 10:02 PM
kuwisdelu - I can see what you mean, and I agree - I don't really see my writing as a hobby. You call it your passion, I'll call it a compulsion. ;)

friendlyhobo - to be fair, the scenario was more like,

mom + dad - I want you to work this summer.

me - But I want to write! If I don't work, I think I can write maybe 2-3 books this summer, and have them going out to agents before fall semester! THe amount of money I'd get from even a small advance from a large publisher > the amount of money I'd make all summer working at a campus job, and the campus job, unlike publication, would do zero for my future.

mom + dad- well we're up to our necks in your loans and we want you to help out and your writing has made you zero money so far, so who is to say it'll make you any money in the future? Spending your summer working and making real money > spending your summer on a hobby.

Amadan
07-02-2010, 11:14 PM
me - But I want to write! If I don't work, I think I can write maybe 2-3 books this summer, and have them going out to agents before fall semester! THe amount of money I'd get from even a small advance from a large publisher > the amount of money I'd make all summer working at a campus job, and the campus job, unlike publication, would do zero for my future.

mom + dad- well we're up to our necks in your loans and we want you to help out and your writing has made you zero money so far, so who is to say it'll make you any money in the future? Spending your summer working and making real money > spending your summer on a hobby.

You know, I'm with your parents on this. If you think you can churn out three books in a summer with a reasonable shot of being picked up by a large publisher, you must shit flowers and rainbows. Even Stephen King doesn't produce salable prose that fast.

Mr. Anonymous
07-03-2010, 12:40 AM
You know, I'm with your parents on this. If you think you can churn out three books in a summer with a reasonable shot of being picked up by a large publisher, you must shit flowers and rainbows. Even Stephen King doesn't produce salable prose that fast.

Don't get me wrong, I see my parents' point (and, incidentally, AM working, so you can see who won the argument, lol), but...

1) Even 1 book with salable prose would be fine with me, lol

2) Spring Semester ended May 20th. Fall Semester starts round Sept 1st.

That is just over three months. That is more than enough time to write 2, maybe 3 salable books, if you don't have any other distractions (and considering I'm aiming for the young adult audience, so my novels tend to be shorter. The one I'm throwing around to agents now is 40k, the one I'm writing atm will probably come to 40-50k.)

Also, iirc, a member of this very site wrote her debut novel (40ish K) in six days.

quoted from an interview with the author.


"KB: What inspired you to write "Break"?

HM: I had this vague idea in my head that I wanted to write about a seventeen-year-old on some kind of weird mission. I had no idea what I wanted this mission to be, but I knew I wanted it to be over-the-top, high concept, and interesting. Then, a few days before Halloween, I saw Into The Wild with my best friend. I tend to latch onto weird things when I see movies. For Into the Wild, I was fascinated by the image of Chris McCandless near the very end, when he couldn't eat because of an accidental poisoning. I was totally entranced by this idea of starving surrounded by food you couldn't eat.

That night, we met up with some other friends and participated in some general teenage mind-altering hijinx. And it just hit me--I want to write about a boy who wants to break all his bones.

And maybe he has a brother (I LOVE writing about brothers) with really bad food allergies who can barely eat and how would this affect my main character and let's name him Jonah and it could start like this and end like...and it could be like Fight Club and Into the Wild all rolled into...

I went home and wrote the book in six days."

So Steven King can eat THAT. xP

DeleyanLee
07-03-2010, 02:16 AM
So Steven King can eat THAT.

When that novel you write in six days earns seven figures, as Stephen King's does, then it's really worth bragging about. A first novel generally earns maybe $2-5K and doesn't guarantee you have a career ahead of you. In fact, it doesn't even guarantee that you'll get a second book published.

Our point is that you need to be a little realistic in your expectations of what's likely. Exceptions are news-worthy only because they ARE exceptions to what usually happens.

Ken
07-03-2010, 02:46 AM
... when writing with career in mind one does best to think progressively I'd say. First step is just to make money from writing, period. Second is to supplement ones income with enough earnings so one can work p/t vs f/t at ones regular job. And the final step, which few reach, is to earn enough for writing to be ones sole source of income. Usually it's a long haul. That shouldn't discourage anyone though from trying, while going about it practically. My guess is that there are 100,000 in the US earning a living wage from writing fiction. That's not all that much, but at the same time that's not all that few.

Eddyz Aquila
07-03-2010, 03:49 AM
... when writing with career in mind one does best to think progressively I'd say. First step is just to make money from writing, period. Second is to supplement ones income with enough earnings so one can work p/t vs f/t at ones regular job. And the final step, which few reach, is to earn enough for writing to be ones sole source of income. Usually it's a long haul. That shouldn't discourage anyone though from trying, while going about it practically. My guess is that there are 100,000 in the US earning a living wage from writing fiction. That's not all that much, but at the same time that's not all that few.

This.

I don't view writing as a hobby. I view it as a passion and a possible career. I'm just out of HS so I have all the time to pursue this, but I want to do it from now. My dream is to live off doing something that I love, and that is what I am pursuing, and this is why I am separating writing from "just a hobby". It's more than that.

My 2 cents.

ishtar'sgate
07-03-2010, 06:14 AM
How many people write as a hobby or a spare-time passion as opposed to wanting to do it for a living or having serious publication goals?


While I was working my career took center stage. It was exhausting but I loved it and writing was my down time, my private time to slip away into a little corner by myself and create a world that had nothing to do with work or any other stressors in my life. When I finally finished the novel I figured there was no harm in trying to get it published. That too, was kind of fun. Nerve-wracking but fun. I sold the manuscript and enjoyed the whole publishing process so now I'm at it again but this time with the direct goal of publication.

You may always want to keep yout writing as a hobby. I thought I did but changed my mind later on. There is something so private and personal about writing that in my early days I guarded it jealously. It was something just for me - not my boss or my husband or my kids.