Lucubrator- One who writes scholarly material.
Is your writing an enjoyable hobby or is it your profession? I know many people, myself included, work full time jobs to pay the bills but still call ourselves writers. Where is the delineation between professional and recreational writers? I know dozens of people who would love to make their living as a writer, stay home, and leave the old 9-5 job behind forever. Does having that other career, teaching in my case, mean I can’t claim writing as my career?
I think there are a number of things to mark a professional writer and being published doesn’t have to be one of them. A person serious about a writing career will pursue opportunities to improve their craft by attending workshops and conferences. Pennwriters is a group I count on for such opportunities. They will work with critique partners and join communities of writers, seeking out those of like mind.
A professional writer will commit to the time needed to create works, edit them and make contacts with others in their profession. This means more than sitting at the keyboard for a few hours each day. In today’s world a writer must network with readers and fellow authors. Another aspect of this is the willingness to spend time on a piece of work to improve it. How many times will you willingly rewrite and edit a manuscript or story? Is there a limit to the changes you’ll make in your masterpiece?
Does writing one piece a professional make? Will you write that one story and circulate it until kingdom comes or will you continue to create new work, each piece an improvement over earlier works?
Are you committed to a writing career forever or are you giving yourself a certain amount of time to make it and then you’ll give it up if you don’t? I know a teacher who took a leave for one year to write a fantasy novel. He did and he never sold it. He quit trying. I don’t consider him a professional writer. You have to be in for the long haul though there are those who’ve made it big with a first novel.
How many rejections can you rise above? Will you keep going no matter the frustrations and disappointments? Experienced writers will warn you of the rejections to come but even when expecting them they can hit you low. And even once you’ve sold some books or stories, there is no guarantee you’ll sell the next one.
So are you in this business with eternal hope? Are you a professional or a hobbyist? Have you considered quitting? What keeps you going after being rejected?