Get off your Hobby Horse

Every so often, there is a refrain that one hears from writers, or rather, generally, sees, since it’s usually on social media. It goes like this:

Non-writer: “What do you do?”

Writer: “I write.”

Non-writer: “But you have a day job?”

Writer: “Yeah.”

Non-writer: “So writing is a hobby.”

Hashtag Exasperated Sigh

The feeling being, of course, that writing is not a hobby- it’s much more, after all, we’re writers, it’s who we are. Having people call it a hobby takes away from that, away from the fact that we will make it.

Except, it doesn’t. More often than not, offense is taken by writers who don’t have much- if any- published work. Which is also fine. Consider: even if you expect to be a commercial success- is writing being a hobby such a bad thing?

Lots of people love to hunt. They are hunters. Their ridiculously oversized trucks are decorated in camouflage, gun racks, decals of their preferred prey. It is who they are. They have day jobs. Does it make them less of a hunter to do so? Why should it make you less of a writer if you have a day job that pays the bills?

So, raise your hand if you support yourself solely by writing. This includes if your have a spouse who works to support the family, if you have one. And unless Dan Brown suddenly started reading my blog, I’m guessing the list of people who chimed in on that is fairly short.

I will reiterate another common refrain here: Writers write. That’s all you can control, so write. Don’t worry about labels or what other people think. Worry about producing something people want to read.



2 thoughts on “Get off your Hobby Horse

  1. Troy L says:

    That’s the same as saying a person with two or more jobs does the extra jobs as a hobby. I’ve never met someone with more than one who holds these extra employments because they’re fun (or hobbies. )

  2. Katie Cross says:

    I think you summarized this best in the phrase: writers write. Period. End of discussion. Whether that means a writer writes full time, part time, or just as able while on lunch breaks, they’re writing. It puts them a heck of a lot farther than people who talk about writing, and have no real idea of exactly what goes into creating and publishing a book.

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