Thursday, July 06, 2006

Career or Hobby?

I got a new journal yesterday in the mail: "Eighteenth Century Life" put out by the University of Wyoming & Duke University Press. It is, as you would expect, light on the pictures and heavy on the history. I was showing them off to the hubby, teasing him that I had something as specialized as his gazillion car magazines. He replied, yes, but he made no pretensions that his car magazines were anything but used for a hobby. I, on the other hand, bought this stuff for my writing, something I haven't made a dime on.

I told him history is my hobby as well as part of my writing, but he brings up a point for the non-writers we live with. Unless you are selling your work, it really does appear nothing more than a hobby. And quite often writing gets relegated to that position.

I know there are some supportive significant others that see the writer's point of view. My hubby doesn't discourage me or try to hinder my writing, but he doesn't take it seriously. He would if I were Nora Roberts or J.K. Rowling, but at this juncture, he sees it as a hobby. He doesn't mean it offensively, to him a job is something you go to everyday and get paid for on a regular basis.

How do I feel about it? Well, I don't take it as seriously as some. I can't. I have three kids and a house to take care of. Those things will always have priority, they are really my job. I don't know how many articles I've read where a writer has told fellow writers they need to treat their writing like a job. Okay, I worked full-time and I didn't like it. Do I really want to do that to my writing? Those of you who are already putting in 40+ hours a week in a job don't need another one.

If I didn't have my kids, I'd definitely devote more time to my writing, but the experiences I have had with my kids are part of what goes into my writing. Honestly, I never wrote a violent scene until I had kids, I'd never experienced the kind of frustration that makes someone want to go out and stake a vampire. I now have. Anyway, real life often interferes. And not just with time. I have days where I have plenty of time. If I were to treat my writing as a job, I could manage to create a schedule for my time at the computer. But other things are also important and they need to be scheduled.

I don't know if there really is a point to this, but for writers, understand that non-writers don't see your writing in the same light you do. Non-writers, pretend you understand the insanity that grips your writing loved ones and friends.