Midnight Pub

Hobbies vs Profession


I've talked and written a lot about this topic, in Spanish. Trying to do it in English makes me think if the cultural differences would change the perception related to my Latin roots. Obviously by region, by material conditions, monetary power, and many other subtle things.

So, what do you think? What's the main difference between writing here (or on Gemini) in our free time, vs having to write for 8 hours for an audience and a monetary interest?

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~inquiry wrote (thread):

Shit, I'm 60, yet can't help but remember what you describe as being not too different than being with/without the parents back in the day....

~tskaalgard wrote (thread):

The difference is as simple as being forced to do it under penalty of joblessness and potential starvation.

~starbreaker wrote (thread):

I tried making a go of being a professional sf author, albeit through a small press instead of getting a deal with a big corporate press like Tor, Orbit, DAW, Angry Robot, etc. Of course, I didn't quit my day job, so I had TWO full time jobs: software developer AND published author. I had to keep it together at my day job, do my own promotion online (never mind that I was shit at social media), and try to write more books — all at the same time.

Of course, Curiosity Quills Press is dead now (and good riddance; they fucked over a lot of writers in the end) and writing's just a hobby for me again.

I might self-publish in the future, but I might not. I make more money as a developer in a year than most full-time authors make in five, and if a reader finds my fiction online and isn't happy with what they're reading for free, I can tell them I ain't Burger King and that if they want it written their way they'd better write it themselves.

You can't say things like that if you're depending on the goodwill of readers to pay the mortgage, but my day job gives me a limited and somewhat precarious source of fuck you money.

~calgacus wrote (thread):

One of my favorite artists (Ka), one of the best hip hop artists and writers I've ever listened to, talked about how important it was that he *wasn't* a "professional" rapper. He made his money being a firefighter, not through his music. And that let him make his music whatever he wanted

Yeah, I had to work. My job is... It made me be the artist that I could be. I never had to compromise myself because I know, I’m able to eat from my job. I go to work, I have a job, I can eat, I can pay my mortgage. I can eat. I didn’t have to like, “Wait, I know my music is kind of...” What I love to do with music, doesn’t really appeal to the masses. "Let me go and do a jam that’s more sounding like the sound of the times so that I can be popular and go on tour, and make that money." I didn’t need that. I’m good. All I care about is that, “Can I eat and do I have a house?” Can I live? Me having a job just let me be the artist I can be, free. I can do what I want. I do what I want to do, artistically, with no one telling me a thing.

I kind of agree. I like being able to write whatever I want, at whatever cadence I want, and take risks without worrying if somebody else is going to like it, if it's good enough to keep me fed. Once you take something you love and you make your very survival dependent on it, you compromise your art—consciously or not—in order to keep eating.

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