Here’s the quote:
This is probably more relevant to the hopeful authors of novels in the crowd. I never wrote novels and when I tried, it reminded me why I didn’t. It wasn’t for lack of writing ability or failure to try. I’m just not good at it. I can’t write a good plot and I have no ability to create living characters. On the other hand, I write good non-fiction. I wrote who-knows-how-many manuals for software through my 40-odd years of professional writing, some of them very good. I use the same skillset as a blogger. I might have been a good historian. I wasn’t a half-bad newswriter. Just NOT fiction.
We all want to believe perserverence will get us to our goal, but that’s just a piece of the puzzle. You also need a gift for writing. It’s an art. For fiction, you also a few other things, like the ability to tell a great story and create realistic characters. If you have no gift for writing, you can still write but it will lack the magic.
No amount of perserverence will substitute for talent.
We do not all have the same abilities or talents. Perserverence works when you have the skills, but it’s a waste if you don’t. At some point, we have to evaluate ourselves and recognize what we do well and what we don’t do well or at all. If you can’t do this, maybe you can do that or the other thing.
Reality needs to be part of everyone’s picture. On the other hand, if you do have a gift, keep on plugging. I hope your novel sweeps the world and gets sold to the movies where the REAL money is.
As for what makes you a professional? Getting paid. If you have never ever gotten paid for writing, you aren’t a professional. Yet. You may have talent and may at some point become a professional. Until you get paid, you’re an amateur. That’s okay too. If you like writing and have fun doing it, why do you need to BE a professional? You can enjoy it and have fun with it. I used to be a professional, but now I’m a very happy amateur. Though I wouldn’t object to a paycheck in case anyone wants to send one.
If everyone was a brilliant writer, there wouldn’t be any professionals. Everyone would do it and no one would get paid.