Okay, so you’ve joined the writing club and you attend every meeting. And then you enrolled in the prompt club which forces you to write once a month. The writer’s conference you attended last month was so inspiring! You’ve even started a blog or two. Are you a professional writer yet? Are you writing on a regular basis yet? Are you sending your work out for possible publication on a regular basis? If you’re like me the answer is no. So what is the problem? I know, I know; I’ve heard all the excuses and used at least two-thirds myself: I have to work, I have small kids, I don’t know what to write about, blah, blah, blah!

The truth is, we put other things ahead of our writing. If writing were truly a priority in our lives then we wouldn’t allow other things to get in the way. You don’t allow things to get in the way of your job do you? And I’ll bet you don’t allow too many things to get in the way of your family either. So what is it about writing that causes us to delegate it to overflow time that never seems to overflow?

I contend that many of us get complacent in our lives. As long as we have food on the table and a house to live in, writing is just something we do in our spare time that we keep hoping and wishing will magically turn into a source of income and recognition for us. The problem is, we don’t have to rely on our writing to make a living. That gives us an out, an excuse. But what if you did suddenly have to rely on your writing in order to support yourself and your family? What would you do then? I’m sure the first thing you would do would be to panic, “Oh my god! We’re going to starve!” But after the initial shock I imagine you’d start assessing your skills and trying to determine how you could use those skills to earn a living. Would writing be one of those items on your skill set list? Would the fear of starving override your fear of putting yourself out there in the writing world? If you no longer had a 9 to 5 job that was putting food on your table and gas in your car, would you start applying your professional practices to your writing; like setting production goals or pre-planning your writing tasks a week ahead of time?

I am not advocating that you actually quit your job or anything drastic like that but what if you put yourself in that frame of mind? Imagine, really imagine hard that the only way you can keep from starving is to write. How’s that for motivation? Puts a little different spin on things doesn’t it? Writing is an art but if you hope to become a professional writer then you must also think of writing as work and that means you have to apply the same level of commitment and professional practices that you would to any other career in order to make it work.

— posted by Linda Price-Kleczkowski