The fuzzy line between professional and amateur writers
You always dreamed of becoming a writer?
But what was your dream, exactly?
Did you intend to become a professional in another niche and write in the meantime? That would make you an amateur writer. If you commit your entire time to writing and you turn it into a profession, only then would you be a professional writer.
But, is commitment the only difference between being a professional and an amateur writer?
Tim Urban, the author behind “Wait But Why”, used to publish posts every Tuesday… or Wednesday. Now, we rarely see a post from him, but his followers are still excited with each new piece of content that comes their way. Is Tim Urban still a professional blogger, even though he is not as engaged as he used to be? While, he might not consider blogging to be his profession, he is still considered one of the best bloggers out there.
So it’s mostly about commitment. However, it’s also about having that particular factor that makes you a pro. It’s about the thing that makes you cross the line between being an amateur and becoming a professional.
You may think you’re a professional writer if you commit your entire time to your projects, but you still might be making the mistakes of an amateur.
There’s a fuzzy line between professional and amateur writers. It’s time to learn how to cross it.
- Amateurs Will Wait for Inspiration. Pros Will Just Write!
Did you hit writer’s block?
That’s an opportunity to find out if you’re really professional about writing.
If you get frustrated and start blaming everyone and everything for your inability to write, you’re acting like an amateur. If you just relax, and wait for inspiration to hit you because you know the moment of enlightenment will come sooner or later, you’re still acting like an amateur.
What would a professional writer do in this situation?
I reached out to Matthew Cesen, a writer at BestEssays. “A professional writer doesn’t have the luxury of waiting for clarification. I get tasks to cover on a daily basis. When I’m not writing academic papers, I’m working on my first novel, and I still have deadlines. So waiting for the bad moment to pass is not an option. I just sit and write,” – he says. “I have several methods to find inspiration. I’ll do more research. I’ll brainstorm. I’ll take a piece of paper, and I’ll write without interruptions for at least half an hour. When you try hard enough, you’ll dig down to the ideas in the hidden layers of your subconsciousness.”
- The Amateur Will Only Do the Fun Parts. The Professional Takes Full Responsibility.
An amateur writer loves to write. This is the kind of person who can wake up inspired and spend the entire day writing without interruption. Is that enough to make them a professional writer? Not if they don’t maintain that energy throughout all stages of the process.
You’ll quickly see an amateur leaving the piece in the drawer for days, weeks, months, or even years. They might revisit it, but they might as well leave it there when it stops being fun for them.
The professional will also go through that stage of an inspirational high. However, they will also conduct diligent research. They will think about the formatting of their content, and they will also edit their writing as close to perfection as it could possibly get.
- An Amateur Won’t Take Writing Seriously; A Professional Writer Will Have Daily Rituals!
Did you know that Maya Angelou woke up every single day around 5:30 AM? She had her coffee and started her writing routine by 7:00. She kept a tiny, simple hotel room where she did her writing. She worked there until 2 in the afternoon.
It didn’t matter whether she felt like writing or not. It didn’t matter what day it was. It didn’t matter whether her work for the day was brilliant or not that good. She had her routine and she stuck to it.
Anyone who doesn’t have a specific routine and doesn’t show up to their writing for most days of the week is not a true professional.
- Amateurs Are Focused on the Goal. Pros Work Towards Progress
Every single writer wants to be recognized for their talent. They want to achieve brilliance with every essay, novel, short story, blog post, or whatever another piece of content they publish.
But there’s a difference.
The amateur will strive to get recognized for their genius. This is the kind of person who’s after praise. All writers go through such a stage. The professional, however, will realize that it’s better to tame their ego at one point or another. Everyone gets criticism. The professional writer will consider it and grow from it. The amateur will just assume that people don’t understand him and that they are not worthy of the brilliance in front of them.
- The Pro Aims for Long-Term Success; The Amateur Is after a Moment of Glory
A professional writer will not aim to make their book a bestseller. They don’t aim to write a viral blog post. They will just write the best they can. Of course, they want to achieve success with the piece they are currently working on. However, their focus is on being remembered instead of being noticed. That’s why they write evergreen content instead of something that could get popular at the moment.
If you recognized some of the symptoms of being an amateur, don’t despair! Every writer is an amateur before becoming professional. Noticing your flaws is a good thing! Now you know what to work on!
About author: Warren’s lifestyle is full of hiking adventures. When he’s not busy with his guitar or enjoying the sunny day outside, he excels at blogging skills and scrolls through social media. You can meet him on Twitter and Facebook.