Riding the Hobby Writer Horse

For some reason lately I have felt sorta lonely, as a writer, and have wanted to feel more connected to that community. Specifically the horror writing community, seeing as I like to write creepy stories and all.

Now, I won’t necessarily say I am a ‘horror’ writer but being that it sounds sorta silly to say I am a ‘dark fictition’ writer, even if it IS true, well, horror it is. And besides, I kinda dig those folks.


While zooming around the couple bulletin boards I troll and pop off in once in a while, the pessimism and condescension I have been reading has been bothering me. This is bigger than the ‘well, YOU are an idiot, my good fellow’ sort that is always found in the BBS world, no, this is more of status as a writer. I have read, more than a few times (hell, I have all but used it, in a round about way) the term ‘hobby writer’ in regards to some writers, and this is rarely used as a complement, or simple descriptor.

The idea seems to be that, if write, but don’t publish often, then you are a hobby writer, and are a different breed than other writers, something that deeply bothers me. It bothers me because the implication seems to be that there is something cute, and quaint about people who write but don’t find themselves regularly published, as if they are someoe’s cute uncle who likes to write the occasional story about flying cats. It bothers me because there is already too much pigeon-holing and categorizing with writers. Everyone has to fall into a simple classification or else it throws off the system. I hate the idea that, if you are not always actively pursuing publication that youd are not as serious about writing as someone who spends their days shipping dozens of stories off. Hell, I know some very talented writes that have yet to see print but who I am sure want that some day. All of this bothers me because this is yet another wall in already labrynthine world of writing.

I know that personally, my life is pretty full, and with my other interests in the arts, and reviewing, and blogging, and living life, that it is hard to find time to sit down and get things ready and out to publishers. It isn’t a lack of interest, it’s a limitation on time. I am guessing I am not the only one that has this problem. Where the term hobby writer may be right though is that we that do want to publish but who are not publishing, need to FIND time to get the work out there. If I believe in it so damned much then why am I not pushing harder to get it out? Sure, there are limitations on time but it is also hard to want to push that little bit more when you keep getting rejections.

What this reminds me of is the way that people who self publish are looked at by writers, and that is as frauds and wanna-bes. The thing is that that is an out-moded notion. A few years ago it was self-indulgent to have your own book printed up but the times have changed. With the ease of getting something published yourself, and the attainable costs, it makes a bit of sense, especially when rejection is the default when you are a new writer. The thing is that self publishers need to really work hard, twice as hard as any other writer, to get the book out therem, to publicize it, to sell it, and to get the word out. It’s a daunting task to take on I’d wager and one I’d never do beyond the chapbooks I make up.

By casting away hobby writers so cavalierly, as if they are just people who think it’s swell to write, it ignores that these are stills storytellers and writers who are just going about it in their own way. Hell, a lot of people will never try to publish, and many shouldn’t try to as they are not writing effective stories, but, damn, to act as if these are your younger siblings. Maybe it is who I am reading, maybe it is where I was reading, or maybe it is that I worry myself that I don’t take writing seriously enough, but the time for casting shadows and stones is past us. For writers, all writers, it is time to work together to make sure our art is not lost or forgotten with the passing of ages. The time is changing, and the days when people could get published are growing dim. It will only get harder so we need to find alternate paths to tells stories, to promote books, and to make sure that none of us becomes disenchanted and loses the spark that drives us.

We are writers, and that is as good a term as we need to define the lot of us.


1 thought on “Riding the Hobby Writer Horse”

  1. Chris,

    I feel your pain.

    By using THEIR definition, any writer who hasn’t been published yet is just a hobby writer. If you think of it that way, 10 years ago, JK Rowling was just a hobby writer too.

    We may not all be career writers (yet), but anyone out there telling stories is truly a writer. Our day is coming my friend.



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