Are You An Amateur Writer? Congratulations!
Now that I’m on what is ostensibly my fourth career — freelance writing — I have to come up with an answer to the oft-asked, “What do you do?” I’d like to say, “I’m a writer,” but I’ve noticed when I give that answer people often follow up by asking if I’m a “professional” writer. We all know what they really want to know: Do I make any money.
If you’re a professional, you make money, one would hope enough money to pay bills. If you’re not a professional, you’re an amateur, and that seems to be a lesser existence because you don’t make money and surely not enough to pay the bills. We consider “amateurs” people who are inept, not very good at their craft. But those who use the term in a derogatory are just uninformed. Turns out there is true beauty in being amateur writers.
It’s all about something many writers enjoy learning — etymology, or word origins. The word amateur comes from the Latin word amare, to love. It describes someone who participates in an activity for the pure joy of loving it. An amateur writer simply revels in the written word. We pursue passion for passion’s sake, not for something as pedestrian as earning a living!
The line is often blurred with indie authors because many of us write books and, spoiler alert — we actually sell some! Sometimes even enough to pay back our investment in editing, book covers, illustrations, etc. But still it’s not often enough money to consider ourselves professionals so perhaps we contribute to the professional vs. amateur misconceptions.
So the next time someone asks me what I do, I will respond, passionately, “I am amateur writer; you may now begin envying me.”
How about you, fellow amateur writers? What do you say when asked,”What do you do?” #amateurwritersunite