Hobby Vs. Career

January 24, 2006 by in category Blogs tagged as with 2 and 0
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By Dana Diamond

What do Tupperware consultants, Olympic hopefuls, entrepreneurs and unpublished writers all have in common?

They all sacrifice inordinate amounts of time, energy and (often) money on careers that may or may not reap any financial benefits…even though they know the odds of are stacked against them.

My question isn’t why they are insane enough to do this, but rather, why is it that three out of the four are considered careers, but the fourth is often mistaken for a hobby?

Now I know there are writers who don’t care to be published. They are known as hobbyists. And I know there are entrepreneurs out there that are dabbling just for the fun of it; also hobbyists. And therein lies the key; “for the fun of it”.

But if an unpublished writer is consistently writing and working toward their goal of a career as a published author, why would someone take the time to try and convince them it is a hobby?

Just because we love what we do and can’t imagine doing anything else (even if it pays bubkis) doesn’t mean it isn’t work.

Of course, I recently debated this double standard, which is why it’s on my mind. I bring it up to you because I know I can’t be the only writer who’s had this conversation.

Hopefully, revealing the double standard for what it is will help other writers and their loved ones gain perspective.

Or maybe the dictionary, my all-time favorite book, can settle it:

n. pl. hob·bies

An activity or interest pursued outside one’s regular occupation and engaged in
primarily for pleasure.





a) A chosen pursuit; a profession or occupation.

b) The general course or progression of one’s working life or one’s professional
achievements: an officer with a distinguished career; a teacher in the midst of
a long career.

2) A path or course, as of the sun
through the heavens.

3) Speed: “My hasting days fly on with full career”
(John Milton).


1) Doing what one does as a permanent occupation or lifework: career diplomats; a
career criminal.

God, I love a good lexicon.

So, I ask you:

Do you consider the pursuit of a career as a published writer a hobby or a career?

What is with the double standard?

And most importantly, why would anyone go out of their way to inflict their “hobbyist” opinions on a poor unsuspecting, unassuming, under-the-weather, unpublished writer?


  • Anonymous
    on January 25, 2006

    It’s so true! The support and confidence in me from OCC friends bled over to most of my family. While there are some “hobbyists” around, most of them are so supportive.

    And I know I have OCC to thank for that. I wonder how much support I’d be getting from family and friends if I didn’t already have such a fan base rooting me on.

  • Anonymous
    on January 24, 2006

    I can definitely relate to what you are expressing here, Dana. Even worse than the “hobbyists” are the “friends” who avert their eyes when your writing career is mentioned. Thank goodness for the really good friends and our OCC/RWA “sisters” who are so supportive.

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