Hey my dears,
it’s #writerswednesday again. Yes, I know I’m too late, but sorry, “real life” as the grown-ups call it, kept me busy.
But don’t worry, I’m planning on something as a compensation to make up for the delay.
So, what’s today’s topic?
We’re going to have a little chit chat about writing as a profession and writing as a passion.
Which, by the way, does not necessarily exclude one another.
But step by step.
So, let’s say you’re a writer. A passionate one. Maybe you’re a good one. Maybe even a great one.
Let us be honest, tendencies are quite high that you’re not writing for a living.
(If you are, please get in contact with me or comment on this post, I’d love to hear your opinion on all that’s gonna follow now.)
So, maybe you have tried to get your works into publishing houses or maybe you didn’t.
Well, which other options are there to work as a writer?
You could be an editor, so correcting other people’s texts, books, websites, dissertations and other academic texts.
Or you could work as a copy writer in an advertising agency or a marketing agency.
If you have profound journalistic knowledge, maybe you’re even working for a newspaper or magazine. As a writer. Or editor.
Or as something completely different, as it is quite often the case.
But let’s assume your work has something to do with writing, be it building headlines and capturing texts in order to market a product or be it reading and correcting books or other written works.
It was in Austin Kleon’s books Steal like an Artist* and Show your Work* that I was confronted with the idea that instead of aiming for a writing career there is a moment of bliss when your writing hasn’t been commercialised yet, because you can follow your passion and be as free as you want to. No expectations, no briefings, no deadlines, no customer that wants some particular text from you.
In that moment, years ago, when I read it, I was a bit taken aback by this utterance, but the more I thought about it, the more it dawned on me what he meant.
A similar thing is what I experienced in my academic work, because as long as I could choose a topic and hold a presentation on it in a manner which was rather free, besides the design of the slides that was mandatory, I felt like doing exactly what I wanted to do. But once I was asked to write a term paper with all its framework and structure and requirements, I felt so under pressure and was so concentrated on making my academic work fit into the framework, that I actually didn’t pay as much attention to delivering the content in an understandable and logical manner. (I know there is a problem with this example, as presentation and written term paper are two different mediums, but let it just sit here for the sake of the argument, okay? thanks.)
Anyway, as long as your art is not commercialised (yet) you can do what ever you like as you’re not obliged to please a client.
Of course, you should keep your audience in mind and create content that they hopefully gonna love, but that’s not the same as someone yelling at you “THAT is what I paid you for?!”.
You get the idea, I guess.
So, does this now mean that as a professional you’re not passionate?
And vice versa: A passionate creative is not professional?
Well, I’d object both ideas.
But, I’d say the way in which you burn for your own projects differs from the passion you put into your professional work.
My professional services range from text creation to translations, editing and professional storytelling to writing texts for special occasions and I wouldn’t say that there is no passion whatsoever behind it. I love this kind of work!
But I have to admit, the process of creation oftentimes differs from a spontaneous poetic idea that you can’t write down quick enough before it slips through your fingers.
On the other hand, when concerned with my own creative projects, I do not lack a professional approach when it comes to organising a photo shooting, planning in advance or when preparing photo and text combinations.
For instance my Instagram account displays mostly my passionate creative projects and not my booked professional work. But I do plan and organise which post goes together with which picture, when to post it, etc., so I’d claim there is a professional approach towards it.
Admittedly, if I do not stick to the planned postings because I don’t feel like it and prefer another idea, of course, in this field I’m free and flexible to do as I please, which is not the case with a booked service.
Nevertheless, I wouldn’t claim that profession and passion exclude each other.
But the emphasis might differ.
The question is:
Will you really lose your passion once your art becomes your profession?
I for my part, cannot give any hands-on advice on that, as my professional work and my passionate creativity revolve both around language and writing, but differ concerning the content and purpose.
But I know from a friend, who used to draw passionately, that once she had to draw for clients, she felt like losing the passion for what used to lighten up her days and meant fun and relaxation for her.
I’d claim there are often phases, whether it’s writer’s block or just being fed up with something you used to pursue passionately in your free time, but once it gets to the level that you can’t find any joy in it anymore and feel the urge to quit it all together, maybe reconsidering your choices and then adjust them, might help you not lose your passion.
For me personally, I think it is a bliss that everything I do is more or less connected by the red thread of language and text, but that professional and passionate work (because actually, it’s both work, though one might be paid and the other not or not in the same manner) differ content-wise.
If that is possible for you, maybe that’s an option for you, too.
I know others who would get distracted by having so many different projects running and who prefer to concentrate on one approach or method or type of work completely. (Which I can understand completely btw!)
And it’s not that I chose all my work to differ to this extent, but it just took its way in that direction for now and I see the positive in it.
Fortunately, I never got to a point where I considered giving up writing all together.
Giving up Instagram? Yes.
Deleting Facebook? Yes.
Stop blogging? Yes.
But writing itself and for itself? Never.
Whether that was now supported by the fact that my professional and passionate work differ or whether it’s just written into my bones and onto my heart, I can’t define.
What’s your opinion and/or experience with that?
Did you make your passion your profession and regret it afterwards?
Do you purposely not make your passion your profession?
Please share your thoughts, I’m eager to know.
So long, my dears
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