Your writing: business or hobby?

Gurus–and, let’s face it, they’re a dime a dozen–are always telling writers to decide whether we want a career or just want to tinker. In part, we don’t always have a clear choice.

Most authors aren’t living off their writing income. They have 9-5 jobs doing something else, often teaching. Many also have families with the usual responsibilities that implies. So writing often gets shunted into the hobby category where it’s wedged into the weekly schedule by hook or by crook.

Clark is the author of “The Edisto Island Mysteries” and “The Carolina Slade Mysteries”

In her latest Funds for Writers newsletter, Hope Clark wrote, “You’ve decided you are a writer. Like any profession, part-time or full-time, you have to map out your days, weeks, and months for better efficiency. Same goes for writing. ” In part, she focuses on realistic goals and organization. So, in one respect, writing is like any other business: you can’t just wing it.

As far as I can see, the more successful we become at the writing part of our career, the more we’re going to need to treat it as a growing business–or, at least, as a money-making portion of our multiple careers.

Clark suggests that we stay away from what she calls “pie-in-the-sky goals that are, in essence, fluffy resolutions.” Instead, look at what’s possible in your schedule as it is now. Can you write and publish one book a year and possibly submit five short stories to competitions? If so, that can be the foundation for a sound business plan.

Without that plan, it will be hard for any of us to evolve into full-time authors, in part, because we don’t really see what it takes to make that happen or we treat our writing as a hobby and allow everything else in our lives to take precedence over it.

Like a lot of things, becoming successful depends on how badly we want it.


P.S. Thank you for the ideas for solving my POV problems with my work in progress. I’m tending toward an omniscient narrator who sees everything that happens but who doesn’t know anyone’s thoughts.