Today, while speaking to a group of tenth graders, I was asked, "Now that you're a full-time writer, do you look at writing as a job or a hobby?" That is a really great question, one I had to stop and consider before answering.
I think everyone's answer to this is going to be different, but for me, I try to make writing a little of both. When I'm drafting, I make myself see it as a hobby. Something fun and entertaining that I enjoy. I try (though I do not always succeed) to keep the pressure of "job" away from my first drafts. Writing started as a hobby for me, and that's where the passion came from. I'm afraid that if I let the "job" part of it get too close, I'll lose that passion.
But there is a time, for me at least, when you have to bring in your "this is work" mentality. Elizabeth Scott once told me, "Writing is an art, but publishing is a business." This is so, so true, and it's a mindset I've tried to adapt into my daily writing life. The minute my first draft is done, I put on my Business Hat. My job is to meet deadlines, find ways to promote my books, etc. Those can't be hobbies, because I can't just put them down when I don't want to do them.
Hobby. Job. Hobby. Job. For me, it's a tight rope, finding just the right balance. I still haven't nailed it, and maybe I never will.
So kudos to that tenth grader who asked me the question today. It wasn't an easy one to answer, but it's one I'm glad to be thinking about now.
What about you? Whether you're published or pursuing publication, how do you treat writing? Is it a job or a hobby or both or neither? I want to know how you find your balance!