A writer who wants to be taken seriously must first take himself/herself seriously. Their work must live up to the additional scrutiny given to those who put themselves out to the public in the light of being an expert.
This seriousness is shown in the writer's work in the following ways:
I wonder, is it really harder or more work to write as a professional as it is to write as a hobby? Is it merely an abstract placed on typing the same characters onto a screen? I think they are two different things. When a writer wants to be taken seriously, she makes an oath that what she portrays will be factual if writing non-fiction, it will be at least believable when in the realm of fiction. The promise that the brand will be well-written and as a matter of course will be placed for all to see and to inevitably criticize. That is the nature of the beast. Will the work survive the criticism? That is the question which comes into play any time a writer posts their work in a venue to display.
When a person is a hobby writer she can merely take the critique and say "Hey I didn't say I was an expert, I'm just writing my thoughts." and in so doing, there is a cushioning effect. When a professional places work out to the public, the notes given back are more direct, sharp, because the writer presents her thoughts as truth. As an assumed truth they must be based in some form of logic, some meaning, some semblance of a valid argument to be taken with the respect that an expert deserves.
Expert. The word itself grabs the air from my chest. It's what holds some writers back. The fear of stepping from the center of the pack out front to pronounce "Hey, I know what I'm talking about." It comes with responsibility and hard work to be sure that when facts are presented they are in fact the best information and/or entertainment available.
Responsibility is something many hope to avoid. I am no exception. That being said I continue to create scenarios in my life (being a wife, a mother and a business owner) not to mention community responsibilities that I took on in the past which come with the need to be very responsible. Such a dichotomy to want the benefits of responsibility with none of the bite. This is the fire that every writer must walk through. Writers usually hope that people appreciate their point-of-view. Many writers also know that a least a few readers will not, and could be harsh in relaying their feedback to that effect. A writer is compelled to write despite this fact. Because the urge to write is greater than any fear that possible retribution may hold.
So what about you? Are you up to the task? When thinking of yourself as a writer,,,
Are you serious?!
Until next time. Happy Writing!
Sophia Tesch is a graduate of the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication at Arizona State University. Sophia is a community advocate. She lives in San Tan Valley, Arizona with her husband and children.