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The awesome co-hosts for the October 7 posting of the IWSG are Jemima Pett, Beth Camp, Beverly Stowe McClure, and Gwen Gardner!

October 7 question – When you think of the term working writer, what does that look like to you? What do you think it is supposed to look like? Do you see yourself as a working writer or aspiring or hobbyist, and if latter two, what does that look like?

Oh, shit. Today is IWSG Day, and for the first time in a while, I didn’t pre-schedule a post.

I got a lot of other stuff done, though.

I’ve been working on typing my backlog. I’ve been drafting a new project that seems to be pretty pandemic friendly, in a light and fluffy kind of way. And I’m working on that damn viking revision. If I can just jiggle this subplot…

And I got my stories in for the Alone in a Room With Invisible People podcast and the Indie Authors’ Advent Calendar. I’ve said that before, of course, but since there might be some people around who missed it… I’m having a story read in the AIRWIP Halloween podcast this year.

For me, the WORKING writer is someone who intends to make a career out of writing, and who is taking regular, rational steps to achieve that goal. They are essentially to the point where there is WORK involved. They do the not-so-fun stuff that moves them in that direction. They revise. They track down beta readers. They write query letters and synopses. They get their work out there.

The results may be out of their control, but they do the work, anyway.

I don’t like to define work based on pay because that minimizes all the people out there in all kinds of different work who are grinding themselves to the bone, and not getting a monetary reward. No one would dispute that the farmer who gets washed out, or the mother raising children, or the son taking care of a dying parent is working.

A HOBBYIST is someone who has no intention of making writing into a career and is not usually taking steps in that direction. They’re doing their writing for their own entertainment, and if they don’t want to do something? They don’t. Don’t wanna write a synopsis? Well, don’t. Don’t wanna revise that thing you enjoy writing? Don’t. Don’t wanna risk rejection? Well, you can always keep your writing in a trunk by your bed.

It’s okay to be a hobbyist, or to have hobbyist interests within writing. There are things I’ve written that I know I will never publish. The mentality is different. It’s more relaxing. More escapist.

An ASPIRING author? To be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever heard a writer call themselves an aspiring author, or writer, or anything else. It’s more… something that other people call us. This feels a little like… that character in those Writers’ Drinking Game movies I watch. The aspiring author will sit in the coffee house and stare intensely into a dog-eared manuscript, until act three where they get up to refill their latte, and just happen to bump into the editor of their dreams.

And all the WORKING WRITERS do a shot.

Two, if you noticed that in writer movies, latte refills are always free.


  1. Loni Townsend


    I’m definitely a hobbyist when it comes to my writing. Not once did I ever think to make writing a career. That’s great you’ve got so much going on. I hope it goes smoothly for you!

    • Reply

      Writing is a great hobby! We’ll see if I can turn it into the kind of career that actually… uhm… pays money.

  2. Diane Burton


    I love your definition of a working writer. Right on. (pun intended) It’s the intent, treating writing seriously, and doing the work. Best wishes to you!

  3. Reply

    “The results may be out of their control, but they do the work anyway.” Yes. This speaks right to me. Thank you for articulating it. And happy hop day!

  4. Reply

    Oh, I do want that free latte! Or to stare moodily across a coffee shop, most likely tripping over my computer bag when I do get up to get that refill. Yes, working writer even when some parts of the job are tough. Your sense of humor made me smile. Perhaps those ‘aspiring’ writers are afraid to live up to their dreams, to actually own the job. Meanwhile, back to work. Writing.

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