In a world where there are many different professions to choose from, a career of writing is one of the most challenging, competitive, and financially unsound career paths that one can possibly take; that being the case, why become a writer, when there are many other, far more monetarily stable and lucrative fields of work? As an experienced writer who had given up on writing as a viable source of income, I myself recognized these hardships, and decided a while back that writing was more useful as a hobby than as a career.
That being said, there are several benefits to choosing writing as a career, many of which can only be attained after taking writing seriously, not just as a hobby, but as one’s livelihood as well.
The first, perhaps most important merit of writing as a career, is education. You will find that in your search to convey fresh, inspirational material to dynamic and diverse audiences,you’ll be researching, reading, thinking, and innovating like never before to ensure that you can provide the best content to your target audience(s) possible. In your ventures to communicate material effectively, informatively, and comprehensively– all while being as elegant as possible about it, you will have amassed a repertoire of knowledge and skills useful not only for putting out continually superb material, but also for living an extraordinary life. As Sir Francis Bacon famously noted, knowledge is power; writing is an optimal path to acquiring and applying that knowledge.
The career of most good writers begins not with the pursuit of monetary gains, but with the challenge of effective self-expression; to manifest creative genius in such a way that can be appreciated by those who read our writing– this is one of the greatest joys in life for a writer; making money is by comparison a fortunate byproduct of that awesomeness. Authors tell the readers a lot about themselves through writing, and making that connection with the readership proves to be the most challenging and also most fulfilling aspect of writing.
For writers with an extreme excess of creative energy, writing is much more than a hobby or a career– it’s a necessity. That there is a proven link between mental illness and creativity is no coincidence– creatively-minded individuals need to write in order to preserve their sanity. Father of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud noted that among the many defense mechanisms his patients used to deal with excess negative energy, sublimation, “The transformation of an impulse into something socially constructive,” proved to be the most effective means that mentally ill people used to regain their sanity; even among sane writers, writing provides a constructive outlet by which to re-balance one’s psychological equilibrium.
Writers, and especially life-long authors, recognize the mind-opening power of writing; As we press ourselves to think, innovate, explore, and become masters of the topics we write about, our minds open up, often without us knowing it, to the infinite possibilities of reality and fantasy alike, and the myriad of perspectives we have to choose from. As we struggle to get fresh perspectives, think outside the box, and achieve a well-balanced and comprehensive understanding of the topics we write about, becoming progressively more open-minded is, for writers, an inevitability.
5. EXPERIENCE THE IMPOSSIBLE
There are many things that I want to do in-real-life, but owing to lack of time, resources, biological prerequisites, or ethical problems, I am unable to. For example, I want to understand the female orgasm and what it’s like to be pregnant, to understand the joys of masochism and the heart of a killer, and to experience a bug’s life, or life on other planets. Such scenarios are (for obvious reasons) impractical or impossible to experience in real life, but through a combination of research, imagination, and literary ingenuity, one can understand and experience the otherwise impossible through writing.
6. INFINITE POTENTIAL
While writing might not be particularly lucrative from a practical standpoint, it’s one of the biggest potential moneymakers; while the per-piece value of writing is remarkably low (owing to the competitive nature of writing, coupled with the willingness of most writers give away their work for free), the potential of writing is high, because you can always write more! For the conditioned writer, for example, it’s possible (if they were to push themselves) to output one quality novel a day– that’s 365 novels a year! There is also infinite potential on what type of content to write about; writers invent new genres, niches, trends, and even new religions on a regular basis, and there’s no limit to what you can write about, the style you choose to write it, the medium through which you write, or the criteria for your writing. It’s all fair game; the whole of reality and fantasy alike are at your disposal, for you to do with as you please.
While perhaps you could achieve most of the benefits of writing without making it a career, you won’t truly experience the joy of writing until you take it seriously; while a hobbyist can output creativity, the professional writer produces art.