This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
My biggest writing pet peeve isn’t to do with writing, or deadlines, or the trying to get published. My pet peeve is, in fact, a five letter word that people sometimes use to describe my writing when they call it a hobby. *Breaks into cold sweat*
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I know that from the outside my writing probably looks just like a hobby. I work full time, and I don’t make any money from it. I do love my time writing and I enjoy creating the stories. But I really do want to be published, and I really do want to be an author, so when people tell me its a nice hobby to have I want to scream at them and tell them it's not one.
If I was a ‘wannabe recording artist’ I would probably be performing in dingy pubs or clubs, or if I was a ‘wannabe actor’ then I would attend auditions. Which I guess would be more visible to people. Whereas with writing, people don’t see me entering short story competitions, or sending submissions to agents (unless they’re working behind the counter in the post office). Which means until someone physically sees a book on a bookshelf I think my writing is always going to get tarred with the hobby brush.
I know that rationally it is only a five letter word, and it shouldn’t make me so angry. I know that they don’t mean anything bad by it. But it comes across as so patronising. It's as if they’ve told me that I’ve got no hope of ever becoming a published author, I get the same looks as if a child told their parents that they wanted to be an astronaut when they grow up. I’m not completely delusional, I realise that I might never get published, but I think there is a world away from trying to become an author and writing stories for your own amusement.
What I’d love for people to see is just how much work goes into ‘my hobby.’ From getting up (sometimes before work) to write or to upload and publish my podcasting, to editing and submitting my novel. And that's before I’ve read other books to review or written more of my work in progress. To me, a hobby should be relaxing and done when you have the time. The fact that I schedule my week around my writing and reading deadlines sure doesn’t feel like a hobby.
The only positive thing that comes out of this pet peeve is that everyone who calls it a hobby makes me even more determined to get published. I want to prove to them that I’m deadly serious about being an author. And when I do get published I’ll make sure that I put a big smug line in the acknowledgements page to thank them for supporting my little hobby.