Honestly, I have no idea what the definition of a professional writer actually is. I also don’t know what the ‘outside view’ of writers really is either since I have been one for as long as I have been able to read, which actually isn’t very long. I was a late reader and didn’t start reading at the same pace as everyone else until I was 11 or 12. Then I caught up, and while it still takes me a bit longer to get through a chapter than I would like ( Usually finishing a 600 page book in 4-6 days) but I read War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy for fun, and its supposedly a hard book to read, but I think there’s just a lot of hype about it being difficult to read. When I want to read fast I can, but I only remember key events. An example of this would be reading the final book in the Harry Potter Series in 17 hours because I knew someone who had pre-ordered it but was only going to be around with the book that night, so of course I HAD to finish it. Yeah- I’m the girl at the party who sits curled up reading and occasionally looking up to see whats going on in the game of DDR or the one with Snake and those octopus ladies or whatever the hell they were. There were a lot of cutscenes whatever it was called, and it came out the same year as The Deathly Hallows. I’ve been attempting writing since I was 14, it started with short stories which I now loathe to write unless there is a purpose to writing them (the only ones that come to mind are for specific contests, as a favor or the least likely but most hoped for; monetary gain)
Then it went into poetry, and you can check out my poetry blog which I have not updated in a disgracefully long time and am keeping separate from “Atramentum” since this is more of a journey, an account, a record keeping and hopefully useful or entertaining to someone, thing.
Back to the topic: what does it mean to be a professional writer? is it getting something published, being paid for it, or is it being able to live comfortable off of only your writing (queue the Laugh track) ?
I think you’re a professional writer once you consider yourself to be one. I’m sure being a writer means different things to different people, we’ve all discovered it in slightly different ways, are inspired by different styles and enjoy a wide variety of genres. For me its what I want to do for the rest of my life. I want to be 100 and slugging it out with a keyboard or what-ever finagled type of writing technology we’ll have by then.
It means agonizing over a title (do you know how long I spent doing research before I came up with “Erica’s Atramentum”?) not being able to do anything else because you’re in the thick of writing and say over and over “One more sentence, then I’ll make some food” and by the time that roles around its 4 am, you’ve been writing most of the day and you really don’t feel like trying to operate an oven or a stove and risk burning the house down. So you keep writing.
I haven’t been published yet, but maybe I’m stubborn and won’t give this up. Maybe thats what it means to be a professional writer, to not give up, wether its writing novels, scripts, children’s books, articles, greeting cards or poetry even if you have to take that job you REALLY hate just to pay to the pizza guy at 5am.
Now of course I want to know; what does writing mean to you, whoever you are, if you consider yourself a writer or not, or even if your not into telling stories but like reading or watching them unfold, what does it mean to you?