Professional v. Amateur Writers

3 Feb

Nicole was good enough to pass on a Writers’ Digest article she knew I’d be interested in reading. The article is called The 5 Differences Between Professional and Amateur Novelists and it’s written by Charles Finch, the same Charles Finch who wrote The Last Enchantments that I reviewed in January. If you have the time to stop over and read the article, I highly recommend it. I’ll include some thoughts on each criteria and where I feel I fall within it.

Tools- Finch says you need to know what you use to write. For me, it’s very simple: Laptop laying in bed using Word with no one around and only orchestral music to distract me. It’s best if I give myself a time crunch but that’s not always necessary. I think I’ve got a handle on this one at least.

Patience- Here I feel somewhere in the middle. I’m in no rush to get my novel out to the world. It’s been sitting idly for nine years, I think it can take two or three more before an agent hears about it. On the other hand, I feel a need to get something published, to see my writing somewhere where the rest of the world can look at it and pass their judgments. I do believe in sitting on something to edit it instead of doing a quick spell-check and pushing it into the world. Editing is a necessary and lengthy process. If an agent doesn’t think my writing is worthwhile, that doesn’t mean it’s useless but it could probably use some more editing. Though there are some self-published books that are picked up by publishing houses, that’s the Cinderella story. I hope to see my novel in traditional print and I’m willing to wait for it (but dang is that hard!).

Focus- Again, 50/50 here. I like having a few projects going so if I’m stuck on one, I can switch to another and be inspired. If I run into a dead-end with something and I’ll have to abandon it, I don’t feel like I’m starting from ‘Go’ because there’s already something else in the works. I’ve finished two manuscripts and I’m working on one other and a few short stories. Not the best focus in the world, but it’s gotten me to the end of two stories, so I won’t cry about it.

Habit- Meh. I posted last week about how I haven’t done any non-blog writing since the end of NaNoWriMo. I think lack of habit might be the reason why. I pounded out 52K when I had a schedule of write-ins and personal time, but without that I’m a bit more lost. I’ll look at adding a schedule soon.

Practice- I don’t think this one can be mastered. Even those who are masters of their domain must practice. Michael Phelps practices. Dwayne Wade practices. Stephen King practices. Everyone has to work on their craft or they will never get any better. I write here every day to help me develop a voice, one that I hope you feel is consistent at the least. This one is being considered on-going indefinitely.

How do you all feel? Do you think you qualify as a Professional or Amateur writer? What could you do to become a more professional writer?

I love hearing from you all, please do leave a message. Consider clicking over to my Facebook Fan Page for a like if you haven’t yet.

Until next time, write on.

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