PRO VS AMATEUR: TALENT & MONEY

Blogging Insights NF 48

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.



Categories: Anecdote, Blogging, creativity, story, Writing

Tags: , , , , ,

8 replies

  1. You’re so right. By most definitions I am an amateur although I did get paid for a few free lance non fiction pieces around thirty years ago.

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  2. You’re so right, getting paid, or making money from the writing would make us pros.

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    • But the thing is, being a “pro” doesn’t make you a better or more entertaining writer. If you like writing and other people like it too — and it isn’t how you plan to earn a living — why are people so obsessed about being “pros”? It makes no difference unless it’s your salary. To the best of my knowledge, no one makes a living blogging anyway. It’s a hobby.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh there are professional bloggers, like those who blog about travel or entertainment industry who make a lot of money. Those who support affiliated links get paid too.

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  3. I think I’d rather write for fun than profit. In my short-lived experiment with monetised blogs, I realised that I was not interested in writing about subjects I didn’t care about for money.

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    • Well, I had actual jobs where I had to document how various kinds of pretty complicated software should be used. It was actually pretty interesting most of the time. Because I worked for mostly startup companies, when I finished writing a book, it usually meant moving on to the next small company. Even though the job was “permanent,” after the book was written, no one was going to pay me to hang around and write occasional updates. They were too small with not enough income to maintain me.

      I never had to write about something I didn’t like. It was software. About as non-political and neutral a subject as anyone could find to write about. And I was good at it. At my peak, really good. Now, I don’t think I could do it at all. My memory isn’t good enough. I used to be able to remember where every word I wrote was located in a book of more than 500 pages. Now? Hah! But it was a clean way to earn a living and I was helping people learn how to use some really expensive software.

      It wasn’t a bad way to earn a living and the people were mostly pretty nice.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. But how much and how often do we have to be paid to write to qualify???

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    • Just once. After than, you’re official. Not that it makes much difference unless you’re trying to make it your regular wage. Then, it does make a difference. But that’s why I had actual jobs because the whole freelance thing is just another way of being poor.

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