Thursday, January 19, 2006

Euphoria is a Business

Originally, I planned to call this site On the Hunt: the perseverance of a fiction writer, with the intention of gearing my entries toward how I’m hunting and capturing my dream of becoming a published author. I take the business of writing seriously. It’s not just a hobby or a’s a business, and I wanted the name to reflect that.

But then a few days ago, I checked out my friend Dana’s blog and she’d written an entry questioning just where the term hobby ends and the designation of a career begins when it comes to writers. It was when I read the definition of the word career--a chosen pursuit—that it all clicked for me. She and her trusty dictionary inspired me to change the name of this site to The Chosen Pursuit: the perseverance of a fiction writer. And, yes, before you ask me, I did thank her.

Okay, so how exactly do I know that this is a career and not just a hobby, you ask? Well, first it’s how others around me, like my family and friends, and I perceive it: it’s work. It’s a job I cannot ever imagine leaving and I to which I willing devote nine or more hours a day. It’s a crazy, mostly frustrating, but can be wonderfully satisfying business.

And at this point in my career, that satisfaction rushes through me at the moment when I finally get a chapter, a scene, or even just a sentence right and suddenly the characters stand not two feet in front of me, and I swear I hear them breathing, making every minute of frustration and headache worth it. Astounded, I realize have created a world into which I can disappear for hours at a time. Wow. It’s a high that has me dancing and singing around the house (Not in public, though. I wouldn’t subject you guys to that. Really.) But how could I ever give up such euphoria? I couldn’t. This is why I’ve chosen to pursue the job of writing every day.

However, what I’ve come to expect is that I have to be patient, not just patient for the words to come when crafting the story or proposal, but patient when waiting for an answer from an editor or agent and patient when receiving criticism with which I don’t agree (this usually comes from judges in a contest, but that’s a blog for another day!).

But to help me rein in my patience, I keep busy. Yes, revising the current story or moving onto the next one, researching, writing articles, networking with other writers and industry professionals, and taking on volunteer positions, such as becoming co-editor of the Orange Blossom (OCC/RWA’s newsletter) with my friend Louise Ahern, quickly swallow up the nine or more hours a day I mentioned above. All these things help me remember that writing is a business and I don’t need to be published to be a professional in my chosen pursuit.

I’m still learning, of course, and I’d love it if some of you published authors out there wouldn’t mind sharing some of your wisdom and experiences with me. Can’t wait to hear from you! And thanks again, Dana, for bringing up this subject.

Michele Cwiertny