Thursday, October 4, 2012

Nincompoop-y-ness

First off... writers block, anyone? No problem!

My dear friend Mandi, is providing lots of delicious novel writing tips HERE, on her blog, in preparation for NaNoWriMo. Not to turn any NON NaNoWriMo writers away, there are lovely tid bits and excellent advice for ANYONE with a WIP! I actually think I'm a few posts behind, but she's been delivering quite the showing of AWESOME SAUCE writing tips! So no excuses. Go check 'er out!

Secondly, I had an experience the other day that I wanted to get your oh-so-awesome opinions on, dear writers....

I--ahem--OBVIOUSLY spend a lot of time on the computer these days.

Shocker, I know.

But I'm sure you ALL can relate. I mean... I know we secretly share this romantic notion of one day using a quill and ink pot to pen our lovely novels out in pretty scroll-y letters on thick, creamy parchment paper like Jane Austen (wait... did she even do that?!)... but lets be honest...

We'll never ACTUALLY do it. 

Why? Cause its just too stinkin' easy to type-a-roo away on the ol' Mac... complete with spell check and Scrivener.

BUT... being on the lap top brings its own extra baggage. Like email. And social media. Both of which I share a love/hate relationship with. But I digress... 

If you are anything like me--despite your best intentions--you leave said email and social media sites open and logged-in while your attempt to navigate the depths of your imagination. And I learned, this week, that APPARENTLY, SOME people keep track of how much time said applications are open. 

Last week, a friend of mine--who shall hereto forthwith be referred to as Nincompoop (holla, Mandi!)--informed me that "I spend too much time on the computer," and "should find a new hobby that doesn't involve a Mac."

I proceeded to tell said Nincompoop that "I get paid to take pics and edit photos of people," AND that "I consider writing a part time job." Both activities, you know, BY THEIR VERY NATURE, involve a lot of computer time. 

To which Nincompoop--in not so many words--replied, "You're dumb. Writing isn't a job. Its a hobby."

This was me:
Closed Caption: MEH????

Obvious creep-tastic-stalker nature of his knowing EXACTLY how much time I spend on the computer aside, his comment sorta stumped me. 

A hobby? As in... like... a hobby? You mean... like FUN?

For a moment, I starred at my computer, thinking I'd read my chat bubble wrong. Like... did he REALLY just say that?? SEEEE-RIOUSLY?!

What. An. Idiot.

My knee-jerk reaction was to yell "OFF WITH HIS HEAD!" And proceed to man the witch-hunt for his ignorance. Because... um, I have never ONCE considered my writing as mundane as a simple "hobby." That word is SO watered down... so simple... such an incomplete description of what I--what WE--do as writers. It honestly baffled me that he would call it that.  

I proceeded to tell him such, when Nincompoop, in all his nincompoop-y-ness, argued that since I wasn't ACTUALLY GETTING PAID to write at this point in my life, that I couldn't call writing a job. 

Which, got me thinking...

Does an actor attending auditions consider themselves at work... EVEN IF THEY AREN'T PAID TO AUDITION?

Does a professional athlete consider a VOLUNTARY extra work out "play time," or part of their job?

What about an UNPAID intern... is that technically just a "hobby"?

How 'bout a PRO BONO lawyer? 

Or a musician working the local bars for FREE, just so they can get that first foot in the door?

Because these people are not getting paid... does that mean what they do is not "work." That their activities are any LESS a job than someone like my marketing Nincompoop? 

MY opinion is obviously a bit fatty NO on that one... 

Writing is not always fun. Sometimes? It just plain sucks. I don't spend countless hours revising and revisiting and pounding the freakin' H-E-double-YOU-KNOW-WHAT out of each and every word because I ENJOY it. Because its a HOBBY. 

Lets be honest... if I wanted to relax, I'd read someone ELSE's work. 

Writing is work. Trying to get published, IS WORK. Writing synopsis's and queries and going to conferences and nail-bitting over whether or not that agent is ACTUALLY going to respond SOMETIME in my life, IS WORK. 

Nincompoop CLEARLY has never actually TRIED to get published if he thinks its all fun and games.... if he thinks writing is just a HOBBY.

A hobby? For real? 

Yea... NO.

*steps off soap box*

I'm curious, though. What do YOU writers think? Do some of you agree with Nincompoop? Or do most of you (as I suspect) valiantly stand behind the idea that an OUT OF WORK writer, is still a WORKING writer?




P.s. I promise that if you agree with Nincompoop I won't think you're a nincompoop too ( : I really am curious as to the general consensus here!


12 comments:

D.V. Sheppard said...

I'm with you. I'm a part-time writer, dagnabbit. A hobby? A hobby is doing a sewing project once or twice a year for fun. A hobby is reading books soley for your own solitary enjoyment. A hobby is regularly dancing in your living room. A hobby is not something that you intend to share, make money doing, or commit your heart to. What a silly head. :p

I've sometimes wondered if I could consider it work - but I decided that the biggest reason I should, is because if I don't take myself seriously I make it that much harder for myself to believe that I really mean what I'm doing. If I don't believe that about myself, then why the heck should an agent? A publisher? A reader looking at my book on the shelf at a store.

If I re-read this I'll probably realize I'm being dramatic, but there's my dime :)

Mandi said...

Sounds like someone got a swift kick in the pants!!!

Trust me, I think we all go through the, "It's just a hobby" phase because it relieves all the pressure of what saying "I'm a writer" would entail. But I also think we begin to believe others when they tell us, "You're not an author until you're published." Which is total baloney! Perhaps they should walk a day in our shoes!

I LOVE daring those jerks to write a novel of their own, THEN try to get a literary agent, THEN try to get it published and THEN tell us it's not a job when your edits come in and you're on a deadline. And then, and ONLY then, you're suddenly on a book tour and FINALLY enjoying the fruits of your labor will you be ALLOWED tell (me/)us that it wasn't a "job"!

We writers don't venture into this lightly. What people don't understand is that it's hard enough just to FINISH a novel, let alone, get it published. But it's a job and it's worth fighting for if that's what we want to do with our lives! Whenever I feel like I can't, (and this has happened MANY times) I pop in my good ol' DVD of Working Girl. It's about girl who had to bend the rules to grab the life SHE wanted. I recommend it to anyone.

In short, you might as well inherit the title that goes along with the work. You're a writer. Period. If you're behind on my posts, you'll also know that I covered this in Pt 3. ;P I think you'll like that one. LOL

P.S S'hanks for the Tag! It means a lot! I hope to talk to a lot of people about their own experiences too I'm always looking for new ideas to try that have worked for others. :)

S. L. Hennessy said...

Are you for real? Someone actually said that to you? That's just about the dumbest thing I've ever heard. Hobbies are fun. Hobbies are something you do to pass the time.

Writing is WORK. It's hard, and it's time consuming. It's NOT easy or (usually) fun. It's like giving birth or something. You spend hours in labor - i.e. pain - and hopefully are rewarded with something splendid and spectacular to make all the suffering worth it.

A hobby. Hah. Get a clue.

Kristen said...

I admit that I hesitate hard core before I ever say, "I'm a writer". In fact, I only share that information with people who I am super close with - because I'm not published! You can bet your bunnies I'll tell EVERYONE THAT WILL LISTEN as soon as that status changes.

But that is a totally valid point and I shall try to step out of my giant discomfort zone... or is that into my discom... well anyway. You get it.

Julie said...

D.V.: THAT--if for no other reason--is EXACTLY why we need to call it what it is: WORK!! Cause you said it... if we aren't taking ourselves seriously... how the heck we gunna get an AGENT or a PUBLISHER to take our WORK seriously?? You nailed it ( :

It IS work. Plain and simple.

Mandi: Oh yes, there was much kick-age in the pant-age. Pret sure we aren't on speaking terms right now... (not that I'd know, since I'm making a point to keep the statuses on my various social network sites at "INVISIBLE" to avoid being accused of "too much hobby time on computer"... GAG)...

As for the rest? You said it. Everything I was thinking. Thought. Or said to Nincompoop. I really don't have anything to add to your awesome-ness except a HALLELUJAH and an AMEN!

P.s. Scurries off to check out your recent posts! (Esp. part 3!)

Lauren: I KNOW, RIGHT?!?!! I personally think that Nincompoop was just trying to goad me. He's one of those "friends" that just likes to argue... ABOUT EVERYTHING. I could probably state a simple fact like "sky is blue" or "grass is green" and he'd turn it into a philosophical debate. But when it came to arguing with me about whether or not writing was work? Yeah, there wasn't anything to say, other than YOU'RE A MORON. Cause really... anyone who says what he was saying? Hasn't ever actually tried to do what we do. Which is work. In case HE didn't know...

P.s. I love your analogy... giving birth! SO FRIGGIN' TRUE!!! Hahaha ( :

Kristen:Haha! I love you!! You're awesome ( : And YOU ARE A WRITER!!! Just in case you didn't know... which is why I try to drag you into the conversation when it turns to me and writing. CAUSE HELLO!! YOU ARE TOO!! And you should own it, girl.

OWN IT!

zabbey said...

I think writing often starts out as a hobby. It's these things that create the divide between hobby and passion: that first writers' block, that first hard decision to allow bad things to happen to good people, the endless hours planning, and the endless revision. You cannot pass these roadblocks without WORK. Your friend CLEARLY hasn't done that work if he thinks writing is just a hobby.

And besides, is this person also calling homework a hobby?! People PAY to go to college! I love my classes. I love writing. But both of those are definitely work!

Samantha May said...

A...hobby? No. Honestly, I think just about anything that takes up the same amount of time that a "regular" job would take is certainly not a hobby!

Julie said...

Zabbey: Amen to that! All so very true ( :

Samantha: Agreed. Wholeheartedly!

Julie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Barbara Kloss said...

Dude. What a %&*&*^$^%%^&^!!!! "Nincompoop" is a euphemism for what I have in mind.

I'm not insulted by the idea that writing is a hobby; I'm insulted by the lack of respect and understanding said moron has. I feel sorry for him. He must not have anything in life that brings him such fulfillment, otherwise he wouldn't discredit writing and use the term "hobby" in such a condescending way. Haters. Ugh. I need to blog about that. I've turned to the philosophy of turning "haters" into kindling for my passion...

For me, writing is a hobby...AND a passion, a job, a NEED FOR SURVIVAL... But honestly - does the word "job" hold a better connotation? When I think of "job," I think of other pleasant (lol) emotive synonyms, such as "duty" or "necessary" or "killjoy." Don't get me wrong, I really like my awesome day job, but that kind of work is...different. I could go into that, but I shall not (unless you want a short story for a comment...)

I don't think it's bad referring to writing as a hobby. For many people, their hobby defines WHO THEY ARE. Some people love cooking or art or, as you mentioned, music...The fact that they aren't necessarily getting paid for it doesn't mean that they aren't excellent at it or that it's a waste of time. It doesn't mean they don't TREAT it with the same diligence and perseverance as they would a "job."

So I guess what I'm trying to say is that I don't think the word "hobby" itself is bad, but I find the lack of understanding said moron has of the word "hobby" to be sad. I'm sorry. Just pity him. Clearly, he doesn't understand you OR what it's like to find fulfillment in creativity...

*HUGS*

Julie said...

Barb: You make good points.

As I reflected on this post later, I realized that it wasn't necessarily his calling my writing a hobby that was the worst (although, to be sure, it DID irk me somewhat)... but that it was his--as you stated--lack of respect and understanding of the craft that irritated me the most. I think that writing can be a hobby, and indeed IS a hobby for many people! I just think in some cases, there is a difference between the two... writing for fun (hobby) and writing that encompasses SO MUCH MORE!! Which is the kind I tend to think me and you and most of my other writing friends do... our writing just takes on a much bigger depth than the casual passerby, who merely dabbles into the sparkling possibilities of writing. The fact that he didn't even TRY to understand this concept made me spit ball mad!

*pffft*

Poo on you, nincompoop!

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