Wednesday, 7 October 2020

IWSG and more free to enter writing competitions.

It's time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group post. This month's question is –

When you think of the term working writer, what does that look like to you? What do you think it is supposed to look like? Do you see yourself as a working writer or aspiring or hobbyist, and if latter two, what does that look like?

To me a working writer is someone who puts time and mental effort into their writing, to make it as good as they can, and who then attempts to have it published for financial gain. This may, or may not, be their main means of support. They probably enjoy at least part of the writing process, but perhaps don't do it solely for pleasure.

A hobbyist, in my opinion, is someone who writes mainly for their own enjoyment. They might edit their work if they like doing that. They might enter it into competitions or submit for publication – but any success is a bonus, not the reason for writing.

An aspiring writer is someone who'd like to write, but has never yet made any attempt. As soon as they string words together in a creative way they cease to be aspiring and really are writers.

I'm a writer. I don't generally define it further than that, but out of these options, working writer fits me best. I take my writing quite seriously in that I research and learn all I can, and revise and edit until the piece is as good as I can make it. I try hard and put in a lot of hours – and I hope for a reward of some kind.

Do you agree with my definitions? Which of the options – working, hobbyist or aspiring, do you think describes you best?

Thanks to Alyson for passing on the link to this free to enter fantasy/ science fiction competition. They want up to 3,000 words. The top prize is £100. Entrants must be over 18 and the work can't have been previously published.

And also for mentioning this flash fiction competition in a comment to an earlier post. Very short, and weird, Christmas stories are wanted There's a $50 prize, plus the winners will be read on a podcast (by the author if they wish). This sounds like fun, think I'll have a go myself. I'm sure I could do weird if I disconnected my inner editor.

Thanks to @The_StorySmith for bringing this paid publication opportunity to my attention. They're looking for horror stories involving cake. I'll probably give that a mis as 'I've run out' is a bit on the short side!

Talking of competitions, I won one! The Secret Attic run monthly free short story and poetry competitions, plus some with entry fees.

I've got a new short story collection coming out soon. You can pre-order it here. The first three in the series, and all my other books, can be found here.

21 comments:

Natalie Aguirre said...

I think your way is one way to define whether you are a working writer or not. I'm not sure what I am yet, so for now I'd say I'm still a hobbyist, though I work at improving my writing.

Linda Casper said...

Thank you for sharing the competitions and well done for your win. I would just mention that I submitted a Christmas story last year to the site mentioned. Presumed it was a rejection but heard nothing.
I have always been reluctant to tell people I write but am going to reclassify myself as a working writer.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Congratulations on the win!
You are certainly a working writer.

Elizabeth McGinty said...

Thanks Patsy many congratulations on the competition win and good luck with the new book. I have a foot in both camps, I'm part working writer and part other worker.

Susanne Matthews said...

Impressive, and congratulations on the win.Working writers come in many different forms.There isn't one fit for everyone.

Carrie Ann said...

To me a working writer is someone who spend as much time possible writing and learning about the craft. They also focus on getting as much of their work out into the world via magazines, journals, etc with the goal/hope of being paid. They attend writing conferences, workshops, attend retreats, etc. They are constantly striving to improve, constantly learning through the process of writing.

A hobbyist to me is one who enjoys writing but it is not a big focus in their life. They are not attempting to make a career out of writing. They write for the pure joy of writing.

C. D. Gallant-King said...

Congrats on the win, and thanks for all the tips on the writing competitions!

Steph W. said...

I like your definitions and thank you for posting the competitions. I wish I was able to enter more, but I am so focused on my WIP (novel) that I don't want to carve away any time for anything else. Congrats on your win!

Donna Hanton said...

Congratulations on the contest win! My definitions don't line up,I'm afraid, but in the end, I concluded that the labels don't matter. And producing the best work... takes work!

Sonia Dogra said...

Congratulations on the win Patsy. If I look at how you describe the three kinds, I'll have to get down to saying I'm a writer. And that kind of feels like a big responsibility. Thanks for stopping by.

Marguerite said...

Hmmm... labels? Rarely would writing be a sole means of support, nevertheless, anyone who is that interested would surely want to do the very best they can. If you take it (work OR hobby) seriously, you would take time and trouble, even if it went no further.
Short and weird and Christmas looks good :) and well done with The Secret Attic win, Patsy! (BTW been wondering about Spooky Stories IV!)

Annalisa Crawford said...

Congrats on your win!

To be honest, I've never really considered the term 'working writer' until I read all these posts this week. There are so many ideas about what it means. I don't think the 'working' part is necessary. If you write, you're working at it. A non-working writer is someone who says, "I want to write a book one day".

carrie said...

Congrats on your win, Patsy. And thanks for sharing the comps - several I'll have a go at. I guess I consider myself a working writer as I'm constantly learning, constantly trying to improve myself and hone my craft, and thoroughly enjoy it :)

ados123 said...

Congratulations on the win, Patsy. Hadn't heard of Secret Attic before

Alyson

Penny A said...

Congratulations on the win, Patsy!

Any writing takes work, in my opinion, or you won't want to own it... or perhaps not even enjoy doing it so much. But to claim the title 'writer' takes a lot of practice. It's still never the first thing I'd say about myself, even after 20 years!! Besides that, mention 'women's magazines' and... well, I'm sure you know the rest :-)

Shannon Lawrence said...

Congratulations on your upcoming release! I agree with your writing definitions.

Gwen Gardner said...

I agree with your definition. A working writer is someone who takes writing seriously. The money doesn't matter. As much as we enjoy it, it's still work.

Congrats on your win!

Lidy said...

Like I straddle between planning and plotting, making me a platser, I think I straddle working writer and hobbyist. I both write for my own pleasure. And I write to pursue publication, hopefully to make a living writing.

Mary Aalgaard said...

Congratulations on all your successes and publications! A horror story involving a cake sounds like a great writing prompt, whether you enter it, or not. Thanks for visiting my blog. Great post!

Seaview said...

Well done on your win, Patsy. I’m not really in one specific category—I take writing very seriously, never stop learning, go on workshops, have studied and been writing short form poetry for a decade now and specialise in haiku. I have a few won short story comps that paid and have worked as a poetry facilitator in schools. 🙂

marion

Nick Wilford said...

Congrats on your new collection and on your win. Although you're certainly a working writer and a hard working one at that, I do agree with Annalisa that just "writer" is enough of a description once you've taken the plunge to put words on a page.