Thursday, September 10, 2009

Are You A Professional Writer?

I've found a blog that I've become addicted to, and want to share it with you. The writer's name is Robert Swartwood; he's a writer from Pennsylvania. Today he's posed a question about what makes a professional writer. The discussion is interesting. Everyone should save this blog to your favs, link to it, and visit it often. You can learn alot from this guy and his followers. When you read his posts, always scroll down to read the comments. I'd like to know what you think of his site, his thoughts and also...

Are You a Professional Writer?

I’m a professional writer. I get paid by a local magazine for writing articles, doing interviews, snapping pictures. I pulled together a writing program for a university and I teach basic NF. Through the years I’ve had a few poems and a novel published, but more nonfiction. I’m the president of a writers’ group and oversee an annual conference. I critique and edit. Over the course of 32 years, I’ve had four agents who have tried to sell my novels. None of them have exhibited a passion for my work. The one novel that was published, I sold myself.

I do not feel like a professional writer. There’s this ‘something’ way down deep that keeps telling me I’m a phony, and maybe I am. ‘Cause I’m lazy. I don’t ‘construct’ poetry anymore. I don’t struggle with exactly the right word to use anymore. My creativity comes and goes.

Friends who know me well, say I’ve lost my passion. Others say I have a fear of failure and rejection. I often look at my work and ask myself if I can really write. Was that one novel a fluke? Yeah, it probably was. But I’m still a professional writer—no matter how much or how little I submit or how much I get paid.

Last week I interviewed the State Treasurer. When he sat across the table from me, he saw a professional writer. He didn’t know I feel trapped in a game of pretend.

Are you a professional writer? What makes it so? Tell me where you get your confidence, how you feel on the inside?

A very dear writer-friend of mine told me a few days ago that she has too much confidence. I've noticed that about her but she's not one of these arrogant types that you can't stand. She's just . . . confident. Sure of herself. She knows what she knows, and she definitely knows the freelance writing business.

Let me hear from you: What makes you a professional writer?


Debra Harris-Johnson said...

First lets clear the air. You Jessica Ferguson are the real "writing" deal. You do for others what no one is doing for you. That is to keep you motivated & focused. Pair up with someone & set aside time to work on or start your book.

I also felt "who am I fooling, pretending to be a writer." Getting paid, helped me to see I was not pretending. I realized I would have written what I get paid to write for free thats when the light bulb went off. I am a professional writer. It what we were meant to be....go with it. After all suppose we were menat to be "professional killers" or something. LOL

Jess said...

My goodness, Debra, I hadn't thought of that. :-)

Debra Harris-Johnson said...

I grew nerves and posted on "Mr. blog's site. Go see. I hope I didn't sound too stupid. Don't worry I didn't mention that we knew each other.

One of my goals is to have an all day Saturday writing retreat at a B&B I found just outside of year. The purpose is to Write Like You Mean It. YOU are on my list.

Jess said...

Debra, Good comment on Robert's site. I will always know you--on anyone's blotsite....unless of course, you make the headlines for being a professional killer. :-)The B&B retreat sounds great. Write Like You Mean It -- I like that theme. :)