Professional or Amateur? 10 Questions to Ask

7K0A0879Back on August 7, 2013 Suw Charman-Anderson shared her thoughts on Forbes.com about whether or not one should be labeled as a “professional writer.” Her article, entitled “How to Tell If You Are a Professional Writer,” listed the following 10 questions for consideration.

I believe these same questions could be asked by individuals, companies and organizations as they screen those professional writers with whom they are considering working or with whom they are already working.

  1. Is your home/work place messy because that time you’d put into cleaning it is better spent writing?
  2. Do you routinely turn down evenings out with friends because you need to be home writing instead?
  3. Do you turn off the television in order to write?
  4. Would you rather receive useful criticism than praise?
  5. Do you plan vacations around writing opportunities (either research or networking potential)?
  6. Would you rather be chatting about the business of writing with another writer than exchanging small talk with a good friend?
  7. Have you ever taken a day job that paid less money because it would give you more time/energy/material to write?
  8. Are you willing to give up the nice home you know you could have if you devoted that time you spend writing to a more lucrative career?
  9. Have you done all these things for at least five years?
  10. Are you willing to live knowing that you will likely never meet your ambitions, but you hold to those ambitions nonetheless?

Eight out of 10 positive responses is indicative that you are indeed working with a pro. Leniency can be afforded under special circumstances, but these are good benchmarks. And by the way, my answer is yes to nine of them…

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