Last night, I went to dinner at a hot pot restaurant. And not that kind of pot, though I have inhaled. For those not in the Asian Brethren, hot pot is a style of eating where people sit around a hot pot of boiling water (Duh?) and cook their food. Sometimes a hot grill surrounds the hot pot where, you guessed it my non-Asian Brethren, you can grill stuff. Afterward, we headed off to a dessert place to sit and chat, cuz chatting as we devoured our meals while pieces of food shot out isn't the most conversation inducing activity.
One of the ladies told us what she did, which sounded very technical, and I asked if she loved it. The guy next to me scoffed, stating that that was an extreme question.
Would you keep your dog if you sorta kinda but not really liked it? Would you marry someone if you maybe loved, but probably not because you deluded yourself into thinking that you did, so you might love them if they stood in a certain light at a particular angle?
I asked him wouldn't it be great if he found something that he loved doing and could also make a living off of it? He nodded, shook his head, then waved it from side to side like Indians.
"What do you love doing?" I asked.
"Would you wanna make a living doing that?"
He shrugged, then said, "Sure, I guess. If I had the talent and the ability and the time. But it's a hobby. Like writing is a hobby."
Whoa, buddy! "I'm a writer."
"Yeah. It's a hobby. Like photography."
Whoa, pal! "No. It's what I'm most passionate about." Outside of sex, of course, the ultimate passion.
I explained that I don't make money off of my writing, yet, so I have a day job so I can eat, drink and take out the ladies.
But I'd run into this pigeonholing of what writing is, and funnily enough, by Asians. What is it with my brethren?
As of this moment, I've yet to publish or self-publish my work, so what makes a writer, or any artist, a professional? Is it the distinction of being paid? What about those writers who have agents but have yet to sell books? Are they not professional? Or those self-published that have yet to collect on their works, are they just hobbyists? Because there's a lot people who self-publish just to put stuff out there.
I'm not sure what the clear answer is, but I do consider myself a professional in the sense that I can act professionally when I work with publishers and agents, despite my sadistic humor displayed on this site. For me though, there's more to it. The fact that my resolve is to get published, or self, and am doing what I can to polish my work, go to writing groups, pay for writing critiques, and continue to learn the art of storytelling and writing, while learning the business side of publishing, at least affords my writing beyond a hobby.
My fellow Asian brothah (not the one pictured) plays tennis for enjoyment but has no intent on doing it professionally because he doesn't think he can. I don't know whether he has the talent or ability, but he argued for his own limitation before even starting. And after teaching hundreds upon hundreds of students, I can tell you that talent is a small part of being good at something, and is often the one thing that holds people back because they didn't have to work to become good in the beginning.
In my opinion, which is the most important to my perspective, is that I'm a pro. I know this ain't a hobby. However, if that guy still thought I was just a hobbyist, then that speaks more to his own thinking about himself. Spending any time trying to convince him would be a waste. And I'm not trying not to be cliche, but to each his own. Whatever's clever. Whatever floats your boat. Whatever jerks your chain. What you see is what you get.