I know a lot of writing hobbyists who are in love with the words and sentences they put on a page. You know who they are. They admire the work of people who have been dead of a few hundred years and lament the decline of true literary genius in our culture. Personally, I don't think literary genius is extinct anymore than I believe the best writers are found in history books. Either way, that conversation misses the point completely.
A professional gets paid for the work he or she does.
The truth is professional writers make a living writing words for others—whether it is for an individual or business. That means what you write has to create a reason for someone else to pay you for the work you've done. When you are paid for your work, then you are a professional writer.
A work of literary genius may net you an esteemed award, but it won't pay the bills. I couldn't care less about winning some award. I want to write things that inspire people to take action and create measurable results.
You choose: Action or Awards?
Sometimes you can achieve both. But you must be clear on your goal from the beginning because it will affect your work product. One thing is for sure, I'm not interested in any "peak experience" coming from my infatuation with words on a page. I'll "get my kicks" somewhere else, thank you.
This isn't something that is exclusive to publishing and advertising. The same categories can be found in music and movies.
Some music wins awards. Some become bestsellers. Some movies win the affection of an academy. Some become box office hits.
If you want to make a living as a writer, leave the orgasms out of the equation.
What do you think? Am I way off base?
Image Credit: Shutterstock