Snow filters through the trees and fills the recently shoveled pathway. It’s been snowing lightly since sometime last night, tiny flakes descending from a glowering grey sky. It isn’t a blizzard – nothing like the mounds of white powder that buried Mt. Washington Ski Resort on Vancouver Island earlier this week. They had a record-breaking 150 cm. (5 ft.) in less than twelve hours, over 4 m. (13 ft.) in five days! The skiers love it, but stranded car owners are still digging out their vehicles.
After my oh-so long-winded post on Tuesday I found myself thinking seriously about my writing – about my short- and long-term goals, my dreams.
I think most of us like to ‘dream big’ and would probably jump at the opportunity to be a full time professional writer, making a living at what we love doing. But I wonder if a writing career is everything we think it is. We see the professional’s life from the perspective of the amateur and it looks pretty rosy. What we don’t see is what it takes to get there and stay there.
The weekend skier who adores spending time on the slopes probably has no concept of the life of the Olympic skier – the sacrificial hours of grueling training day after day, the risk and injuries, the expense and promotion, the constant travel. When the weekend enthusiast watches an international skiing competition he sees only the exhilarating races, the skill, the medals, the glory.
Back in mid-September Jody Hedlund blogged about the differences between our writing as a hobby or a profession. If you didn’t happen to read that post I highly recommend you go back and do so now. She defined the differences between hobbyists and professional writers, particularly in the areas of motivation, pleasure, inspiration, work time, standards, investment and image.
For those of us who are putting publication on our wish list for 2011, and aiming at the life of a full time writer, I wonder if we really understand the commitment and endurance a career in writing will require.
The first person to comment on Jody’s blog post was Katie Ganshert, and she made a significant observation: “Another important point is that it’s OKAY to be a hobby writer. There’s no shame in that. It’s not like professional writers have a one-up on hobby writers. It’s all about what God’s called us to be.”
She’s right, of course. We need to allow God to guide our ambitions… and to remember there are other ways to use our [skiing] skills that are as valuable as whipping down a slope in search of gold medals.
Are you writing with the goal of publication and a full time career? If not, or if that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen for you, what other areas might you find that would let you make use of your love of writing?