Recently a friend and writer confided that he had come to a conclusion about his forward path to a writing career. Reading through his well-documented and thoroughly experienced paragraphs on his journey-to-date and the upcoming year’s prospects, I was struck by the fact that this friend and I had come to the same conclusion. We would progress the same way.
If I maintained my snail’s pace (I’m in Seattle, so perhaps slug’s pace) I would meet him in the Guild of Profession. The thing is, to do that, we have to both have written something and made it widely enough available to meet the Requirements of Inclusion of said Guild. These words are capitalized because all great things and those that are less great but recognized as proper nouns should be capitalized. Let’s face it, you can’t go to the bookstore without the person behind the register confiding that they are writing a book. We’re all looking to connect with the greater world and so the Guild of Profession makes a set of reasonable benchmarks for those who need to be recognized to be recognized.
Wheh. It’s a good thing I’m on vacation today and not writing for much purpose with sentences like those.
The long and short of it is that with so many people writing we sometimes feel a need to be recognized. What makes on a legit writer? What makes a person admit to new acquaintances that they are A Writer (note the capitalization of importance) instead of an accountant or store manager who writes as a hobby? We’re all different. We all feel legitimate at a different level of accomplishment. When reading Professional Writers blogs about impostor syndrome I’ve noticed that many of them have reached high levels of what we in the bogs of self-despair might call Professionalism, but they still have day jobs and have difficulty explaining to people why they are using their sick days to stand on a panel at a fan conference. Just as much difficulty as they have explaining to fans that they have to use sick days to attend the conference and their airfare wasn’t comped.
My point is – we have to decide what the realistic points are that make one a professional and then own the snickerdoodles out of our writing from now until we reach that point. Celebrate it when you get there. Don’t change the goalpost until you’ve spent a good amount of time being professional. Once you keep writing you will improve your craft and the goals will change organically.