Except perhaps the triviality of the word ‘ hobby’!
I’m rather behind on my Mslexia reading, so I’m catching up on a magazine from earlier in the year. In an article by an English teacher and dyslexia specialist, Karon Alderman explains how she has written six novels for children, none of which have been published, though two have won competition prizes.
She poses the eternal question: why bother writing if you never get anything published?
Not only does Karon write, but she also edits her work and sets herself deadlines. While other people are meeting for coffee, she is craving her laptop. She enjoys beating items into shape for submission.
Like most of us, Karon has a portfolio career, so her writing is done in her ‘spare’ time; feeds into her work and vice versa. Most of us would love to be able to live from the proceeds of our writing, not relying on other forms of employment, or being subsidised by others, but the harsh reality is, it won’t happen for many of us.
She also makes a very important point. She says it is wonderful when someone reads her work and enjoys it or benefits from it or both. However, the point is why not write simply because you enjoy it? Children love to make up stories and tales, so why shouldn’t adults play, too?
Do we expect everyone who enjoys watercolour to be a great artist who can sell their work? There are plenty who enjoy painting but are not very good at it (me for one).
I enjoy a swim but I am pretty dire at it. Should I stop?
Can you not play golf unless you become a professional?
Or as she suggests, call yourself a gardener because you are not contracted to dig up some weeds?
Writers write. They do not have to be published. They do not have to be professionals. They do not have to be award winners. They do not have to waste their money being something they are not. What writers have in common is that they DO have to write. They can do no other.
Put it this way, if I was invited to a party or could sit and work on my book, I know which I’d go for, sad introvert though that may make me. When I get up in the morning, I can write my diary or Bude & Beyond or watch telly, though I do like a dog walk. Well, no contest. I rarely watch TV.
If I’m not writing, I’m often reading. Writing is not restful, but reading can be.
Like many, I am a published author but I could so easily not be – and I’d still need to write, published or not. Anyway, we can all write a blog. Bude & Beyond is one and its readership hits thousands. Despite making no money from it, it’s a good feeling.
So give yourself permission to get those words out and see publication as a bonus but not the main prize!