How to Know You're a Professional Writer

I have Failed.

At being a professional writer-- at least according to this article on the Horror Writers of America site.

1. Is your home/work place messy because that time you’d put into cleaning it is better spent writing?

Yes, and I'm ashamed of it, so thanks for connecting it to my career success. Having two children under seven would be challenging enough without a poorly drawn line between work and home. But you know what? I don't see what my hatred of cleaning has to do with being a writer. 

Would this question hold as much value if I were a man?

Probably not. 

2. Do you routinely turn down evenings out with friends because you need to be home writing instead?

Nope. If I spend too much time alone, my writing suffers because I become a crazy person and forget how to talk with my mouth.

3. Do you turn off the television in order to write?

I don't turn *on* the television in the first place, unless you count falling asleep to Adventure Time, Community, or Archer.

4. Would you rather receive useful criticism than praise?

Only from a very select group of people whose opinions I value.

5. Do you plan vacations around writing opportunites (either research or networking potential)?

Yes. Some of my best trips have involved research for things I wanted to write, and I return filled with energy, joy, and passion for my work. But I'm mainly using my writing as an excuse to have adventures, not the other way around.

6. Would you rather be chatting about the business of writing with another writer than exchanging small talk with a good friend?

Trick question. I would rather talk writing/business with another writer than make small talk with a stranger or acquaintance with whom I have little in common. And I would consider any talk with "a good friend" to be a conversation, since "small talk" implies that an exchange remains on surface-level, meaningless topics.

7. Have you ever taken a day job that paid less money because it would give you more time/energy/material to write?

I haven't had a day job since I started writing. Being a stay-at-home mom doesn't pay well.

8. Are you willing to give up the nice home you know you could have if you devoted that time you spend writing to a more lucrative career?

Wasn't this question #1? What on earth does my home have to do with my writing? Being messy I can understand. But it's not like I'm at the furniture store wishing I could have a nicer sofa but walk away in tears because I had to buy printer ink. Again, this question seems very sexist. How many men would answer, "YES, I HAVE STOPPED READING REAL SIMPLE AND SACRIFICED BUYING THAT NEW PADDED BENCH FOR THE MUD ROOM SO THAT I COULD WRITE."

9. Have you done all these things for at least five years?

Nope. I started writing in 2009 and "went pro" in 2011. I FAIL.

10. Are you willing to live knowing that you will likely never meet your ambitions, but you hold to those ambitions nonetheless?

I've met my ambitions, you ass. I just keep getting bigger ones. It's not like I'm dying of consumption over here. 


I agree with the main criticism I've read of this article; mainly, If you are paid to write, you are a professional writer. Period. Being a professional and *acting* like a professional may be very different things, but if you put up a self-pub story and someone paid $0.99, CONGRATULATIONS. WELCOME TO BEING A PROFESSIONAL WRITER.