Monday, February 05, 2007

Writing Question of the Week

Happy Monday, everyone. I hope you all had a wonderful weekend (Colts won, yay!)

This weeks question stems from something that's been floating around in my head quite a bit lately, and I'd like to get feedback from all of you. I'm not sure there's any one answer that's inherently correct, but I'm definitely interested to hear your opinions.

What do you believe makes someone a "professional" writer?

Please feel free to leave a comment below! I look forward to reading your thoughts.

Best Wishes,




At 2:32 PM, Blogger Franck Silvestre said...

I think that a professional writer should be able to write an article like he is reading in the head of the one who ask him to write.

For example: I am in affiliate marketing and I want to build a stop smoking tips website. The writer should be able to ask me the right questions that will lead him to write the best articles for my needs.

The writer should be able to understand his client.

My thoughts.

At 6:29 AM, Blogger Wendy said...

I tend to think of a "professional writer" as someone who earns the marjority of their income from writing. That's not to say that part-timers aren't "real writers," just that I would see part-time as more of a hobby or fun activity that also pays a little something, rather than a full-fledged career as a writer.

At 9:21 AM, Blogger Denise said...

Thank you for both your comments.

You both make interesting points, that's for sure :)

At 1:29 PM, Blogger Georganna Hancock M.S. said...

In the beginning, the only distinguishing characteristic between professional and amateur is that the pro gets paid to do what the amateur does for free.

That's just at the start, however. After a writer turns pro, the term takes on a whole new set of characteristics. For example, a professional takes all assignments (no quibbling with the editor), a pro does his or her job in spite of life's emotional upheavals, a pro keeps confidences, is dependable and reliable, respects deadlines and more.

At 9:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A professional is educated, experienced, or (hopefully) both in what they're doing. Here's the big one in my book though:

A professional writer knows how to properly handle the business aspect of managing a writing career. The most important aspect of that is that professional writers know how to effectively market themselves (often more important than the writing itself) to earn "professional rates" and keep a regular flow of work, whether they do that full-time or part-time. Professional writers are also often the ones sought out directly by clients, rather than having to dig and "beg" for projects.

At 12:41 PM, Blogger Jeff Pfaller said...

A professional writer is a person who is writing and selling their work. I would argue that this excludes novelists, screenwriters and poets doing work on spec, for their own creative exploration, but includes those same people who are contracted to do it.

My two cents.

At 2:20 PM, Blogger B said...

There's no licensing agency or governing body establishing professional standards for writers.

It's unlike many other "professions" that have certain objective measures and requirements as a prerequisite to group membership.

You can define "professional" in many different ways. Some definitions hinge on quality. Some only require working for pay.

I came here via 6FW, where Jenn outlined a definition of "professional writer" based on factors that went well beyond receipt of a check.

There are others who will point to bank statements alone to demonstrate "professional" status.

Georganna lists some "professional" characteristics I might not have considered.

Personally, I'm not that interested in who claims "professional" status, or who claims "writer" status, either.

You posed an interesting question, though, because it elicits answers that tell us a lot about what people think is important about quality and behavior.

Me? Though I don't lose any sleep thinking about the line separating amateurs from pros, I tend lean toward Wendy's more objective, earnings and focus definition.

I love the other stuff, but I think most of that has more to do with being "good" than reaching "professional" status.


At 2:26 PM, Blogger Denise said...

Wow, thank you all for your insight. Honestly, I'm not sure there truly is a concrete definition for a "professional writer," but these are all interesting points. Definitely something to think about!


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