Many talented, creative people pursue their art as a hobby. Musicians gather with friends for a Saturday night jam. Hobby poets and painters share their creations with family and friends. Rewarding, but no fame or fortune.
In my distant youth I saw writing as my future profession, but I lost my confidence in that way to earn a living. I went to medical school. I wrote as a hobby.
Retiring from 40 years of psychiatric practice, I opened a bookstore as a path to restoring my identity as “English major.” I ran the bookstore as a hobby, never really embracing a true “business model.” The result was not unexpected: no real money.
My renewed hobby of writing and book store owner succeeded as intended, as hobby. I now kept company with writers and readers, not doctors.
Slowly something changed. I realized I did actually want some recognition for my writing, and hey, wouldn’t it be great if I earned money from it?
I became aware that by keeping writing as a hobby and not expecting money for it was a defense against failure. If I expected no recognition or payment, no pressure. If my writing really isn’t very good, at least few people will see it. Couldn’t I just say that if my writing is worthy, I’ll be discovered some day? Maybe after I’m dead.
I do not like “business.” Actually, I don’t know how to do it. There are people who do. What? I might have to pay them? That will eat up a lot of royalty payments, if there are any.
I glad my grandfather farmer didn’t think that way. I’m sure seeds and fertilizer cost money. And keeping or renting a mule wasn’t free. He learned how to farm from someone.
So now I’m all in, “employed” in the business of writing, with a budget to invest, people to help, learning modern marketing tools. Building an author “brand.” Whatever that is.
I read. I write. I learn. I’m in a writing group and I have four published books. I’m still pretty sure I’m not Steinbeck, but my heart and soul have found their way back to where they should be.