Professional or Hobbyist?

A few years ago, during a night out, I was introduced to a man in his early twenties that was the school acquaintance of a friend. During the general polite conversation that followed I asked him what he did for a living, to which he replied, “I’m a photographer.” I immediately found the subject interesting (I love photography) and started asking him lots of questions – what his main points of interest were, who he worked for, how he got into it – and after a few minutes it became evident that he wasn’t a photographer at all. In truth, he was a barman with a good camera who liked taking photographs. I was a little confused (and slightly insulted) by the fact that this man had ‘bent the truth’ in an attempt to appear more successful or creative – I’ve done plenty of bar work over the years and in my experience it is a physically and mentally exhausting job that requires lots of patience, particularly when dealing with drunken, aggressive members of the general public. It’s a shame that he felt that he had to hide a profession that he should have been very proud of.

When I first started this blog I had quite an unnerving experience with a man who persistently harrassed me for my personal Facebook details with the excuse of wanting to connect with me because he liked my writing. He didn’t write anything of his own – his blog consisted of reblogged posts. His messages became more frequent almost aggressive, and after several polite ‘no’ responses I eventually grew tired of his requests, quite nastily asked him to leave me alone and blocked him from my account. He sent one more message that went straight to my ‘spam’ folder which said:

‘I am a professional writer too, just like you. I want to speak to writers.’

I am not a professional writer. I am a teacher who likes to write. Writing is a hobby, teaching is my profession. I gained my QTS (Qualified Teacher Status) years ago and have been permanently employed as a teacher ever since. I feel that this qualification allows me to refer to myself as a teacher when asked what my profession is. I am also a violinist – I have a performance degree from a good music college and am a member of a professional string quartet – and I can claim this because we have been paid on hundreds of occasions for our music-making services. However, as this is a creative subject I find there are often lots of people who are willing to argue the point of professionalism, particularly when discussing the idea of how good someone is at something.

In a world of daily advancements in affordable technology and social networking, everyone now has the opportunity to explore their creative side. Anyone can take a photograph, start a blog, self-publish their own book and/or create their own internet pages and websites. Of course, that doesn’t take anything away from the sheer amount of work and courage that goes into the self publication of books and novels, courage that I don’t possess myself, but it is possible for anyone with drive and ambition to do it. I’ve only had my blog for sixth months and in my own little world I feel that I have made a small success of it, but I never write in the hope of becoming a professional blogger. Admittedly in many of my posts I have referred to connecting with ‘fellow bloggers,’ but in truth I don’t feel qualified to refer to myself as a ‘writer’ or ‘blogger,’ I simply use this phrase because it seems easier to do so in order to create a sense of community. I also spend lots of time taking and editing photographs and I’ve had some fabulous feedback about the pictures that I have posted, but I would never refer to myself as a professional photographer as I have never earned any money for it.

This morning I had a conversation with Caitlin Kelly, the author of Broadside Blog. I’ve followed her blog for a while now – I admire her writing style and the hints and tips that she offers about writing, blogging and jounalism – and a comment that I made on her latest post about writers that are expected to work for free led to a short discussion about the concept of professional job titles that are sometimes exaggerated in order to gain a higher status in the eyes of others. I asked her what her thoughts were on the appropriate time for someone to start referring to themselves as a professional ‘writer.’ This was part of her response:

‘…someone who is soi-disant “a writer” is someone I would need to show me their commercially accepted and published work — and a consistent sales record in the thousands — to qualify.’

Essentially, I feel that the term ‘professional’ should be used when the subject is actually a profession ie. money is earned for creating a piece of writing or taking and editing a photograph.  However, this also poses the question of the regularity of payments earned from creative work – does somebody earn the right to call themselves a writer if they have been published once? Does a piece of work have to be published in a nationally or internationally recognised forum in order for it to be recognised as valid?

But what do you think? Do you refer to yourself as a professional ‘blogger,’ ‘poet,’ ‘writer’ or photographer when asked what your job is? At what point do you feel it is acceptable to use these terms?


265 thoughts on “Professional or Hobbyist?

  1. I agree with many of the comments – you can’t simply define someone by what they get paid to do. Maybe your barman had the soul of a photographer. The world sees a barman, but inside he’s a photographer and spends all his time striving to be one.
    If money is the only indication of a writer or artist, then Van Gogh, Monet, Vermeer and others weren’t artists until after they died. It’s different if you’re calling yourself a journalist, but have never been published – that’s a defined profession. Art is difficult to quantify. When do you become an author? When you finish your first novel or when you self-publish or only when you get an agent and publisher (a very rare thing these days)?
    Maybe we need to stop putting each other in boxes or telling people that they’re in the wrong box. Interesting post though.

    • That’s a good point. I hated referring to where I worked as far as what I did to pay the bills… because I hated my job. I would often refer to my hobbies as what I “did”. If someone asked me where I worked, well, I’d tell them I was a sales associate. While it was where I worked, it wasn’t me at all. To your point, I would never tell someone that I was a professional if it was only my hobby… unless I’ve been doing it for a number of years and it has helped me receive more than a few checks.

  2. I go back and forth on this one myself. Though I have, for many years now, made my living at writing, it was only recently I embraced the term “writer” for myself. Why? I had a narrow view of what constituted a professional writer, and I didn’t pass muster.
    Partly it was thanks to the overflow of bloggers and hobbyists who called themselves writers and who would happily work for free (“you won’t get paid, but you’l get bragging right”), essentially pricing those of us who were making a living at this writing stuff out of the market. Partly it was that I seemed to think you had to write an award-winner or best-seller to be a “real” writer. Partly it was pure stupidity.
    Today, I’m a little looser in my definition. If you make your living by penning words, you are a writer. If you have another profession and you keep a blog to make yourself happy, I personally would not use the term “writer” there – any more than I would call someone who kept a personal diary a writer. And in between are so many varying shades of gray that I’m not going to argue with anyone over their choice of self identification.

  3. I like what you said mainly, but one point bothers me. You said that anyone can self-publish their own book. Quite honestly, you are wrong. Most people can’t even write their own book. It’s a huge complicated job, and to say that anyone can do it belittles people like me who have poured everything they have into writing a good book. I have not yet published my book yet, but I proudly call myself a writer. It’s not my professional title, but it is who I am. And I mean that. It’s who I am. I find it very insulting that you seem to think that just because I do not write for a living, that I am not a writer.

  4. I love it! There’s nothing wrong with being authentic about who you and what you really do. I’m a former television journalist. I have studied and worked feverishly in the industry. And it bothers me when folks shoot themselves on i-phones and claim to be media journalists. In actuality, they are like millions of others who have the ability to shoot short films. The truth is all industry people are territorial. And look for credentials. I get it.

  5. I love this discussion. I consider myself a writer, because I write. I think and observe and tell stories. I get paid as an independent contractor to write articles for a fitness company. My paychecks come every 2 weeks. I’m a mother. (Sadly, haven’t found a way to get paid for that yet!) We are all a lot of things. I agree that someone on a date calling themselves a photographer simply because they have a camera and enjoy taking pictures is a bit of a stretch. Ultimately, I think it’s semantics. Regardless of how someone labels themselves, the b.s. meter will weed out the wannabes eventually.

  6. Well according to me, the most important thing is to follow your heart. As you enjoy writing and photography, and you do so, it is the best thing in the world. 🙂
    Interestingly as you are posting your articles, you are entitled to call yourself a writer. Addressing yourself writer will boost your inspiration and help you come up with great articles.

  7. I agree with your view on the modern world – anyone can write, take photographs or self-publish. I have self-published books, I keep a blog and I write on a poetry website. I don’t consider myself a writer, poet or blogger. I am just one of the many thousands who is grateful to have a release for my creative side. To profess myself as a writer when I’m in no way successful would serve only to draw attention to my mediocrity. I’d much rather use the expression “I love to write.” As much as many of us would like to self-identify as writers, poets or photographers, I believe there has to be some element of agreement from an outside party. I can’t just call myself a lawyer because sometimes I step into other people’s arguments. There has to be a legitimate foundation for you to claim that you do these things professionally. Personally, I love reading writing from amateur writers. What a wonderful way of getting a fuller insight into the world! I suppose if you love writing, you will always consider yourself a writer in your heart, but there’s certainly a division between declaring writing as a hobby and writing professionally.

  8. Although I agree with many of the points made in the post, I think someone can refer to themselves as a photographer or writer, when it consumes them. Allow me to elaborate: If someone works as a barman but aspires to be a photographer, and they have been pursuing that dream for a year or more, I feel they have earned the ability to call themselves a photographer. If someone has the hobby of taking photos and has gotten paid multiple times, in a sense, they are a photographer. I believe perspective is key to understanding the label people put on themselves. Interesting and thought provoking post.

  9. This is the question isn’t it! I think the Internet allows each and every person to own a small corner of it, whether using photos on Instagram, writing on blogs. Suddenly everything is an open page where each person can apply their own creativity. It is great, but perhaps talent and hobby then gets muddled. I think as long as people have a platform to express themselves then it at least gives people the chance to show others what they have without investing too much. The idea of sharing is wonderful as well and allows thoughts and ideas to spread like quickfire.

  10. I definitely can see where people are coming from… though a lot of the discussion fails to point out how much self-identification is gained over expertise and hours worked.

    I agree that the exchange of money is an underlying point of “professional”- if its not a source of income, it’s not a profession, point blank. For myself, I do identify as a blogger– I’ve blogged over various websites for over 10 years and am proud of my online voice and my ideas. However, I’ve never earned money for it. Contacts? Yes. All the networking that has come as a result and the esteem of being asked about what it is I write about has been a huge push for me to consider myself a blogger. A “professional blogger” is a completely different monster– and I think there is definitely a line.

    Your barman example makes sense- and I can see it from both sides. I can see how you may have felt deceived. But at the same time, if the person is great at photography, has honed his craft over years and has a sizable amount of hours put in, he’s a photographer. Money only comes into the picture at the word “professional.”

  11. If someone asks you what you do for a living – absolutely be honest about what you are paid to do. However, identifying yourself by other’s definitions of professionalism is rarely a good thing. As a teacher you know that. Many people in the world don’t think of teaching as a real profession. Maybe that is because many of us don’t act like professionals. But – all of us – have degrees, most of us have graduate degrees. Doesn’t that qualify as having credentials? Then again – I would be teaching something to someone regardless of whether I was ever paid to do so – it is part of who I am. I am a teacher.
    People shouldn’t exaggerate their true position, but should choose to express their definitions of themselves based on their giftings and on their ability to contribute to the world around them using those gifts.

  12. Absolutely right.. Professional and Amateur are two different words with different meanings. One must be what she/he really is.. 🙂

  13. As I’m just starting this whole blogging endeavor I can’t call myself a blogger yet but I think that if you post on a regular basis – ie at least weekly for and extended period of time – then I think you should be able to call your self a blogger.

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  15. In order to label yourself something, do you have to be good/accomplished in it? Is passion for something not good enough? I imagine those movies about “writer”. You know those people who are working on their novel and hoping it to get published. Are they a writer or are they not? I think you are what you label yourself. That’s not to say I can’t interpret that in my own way. I guess what i’m saying is everyone has their own definition. Neither is absolutely right/wrong.
    I’m not familiar with writers but look at Miley Cyrus. Accomplished yes, do I consider her an artist? Not at all.

  16. i do sketching and dancing not professionally but 4 my own happiness to get relieved.i abdicated those things bcz of my rush to get into a job to be a professional.i recall alll my days when i used to sketch and dance…. thq suzie81

  17. This is a thoughtful post that leads to discussion and making decisions about “labels,” too. I am sure I am not the best photographer but I do have an artistic flair, I am definitely not a writer, in so many ways, but I love to write. Professional nothing, ex-teacher, ex- wife, ex-social worker, etc. I sometimes feel like a Jack (or Jill) of all trades, master of none! Smiling at this great post because it is limitless in the directions your commenters can go!

  18. I’m definitely not a writer, but a hopeless romantic fool, that likes to write about my life and romantic experiences. I don’t want my direct environment to know that I have a blog, because blogging about my life, is just like therapy for me. I need to write, to get it out of my system and I can enjoy it more, if I know that ‘strangers’ like what I write. People around me know me and I don’t want my emotions to be exposed to them, as I think that some of them would not understand it. To write, for me is therapeutic. It makes me happy.

  19. A very thought-provoking piece.

    What if your main profession has been one thing for 30-odd years, yet you’ve kept a strong interest in and maintained “work” from your hobbies?

    Then lets say you start making a teeny bit of money on your hobbies and maybe start calling it a “side job”.

    Is such a person a semi-pro? That’s what I call myself. I could easily be called a “GWAC” (a derogatory term meaning Guy With A Camera), only I’ve taken some competition winning photos and made a modest amount from doing my photographic work, despite the fact that my day job is in I.T.

    I don’t know that you can clearly define people as one thing or another. When I m working on writing magazine articles (that have been commissioned and paid for), then I’m a writer. When I take a photo that people think is really nice, then I’m a photographer. When I fix someone’s computer, then I’m an IT geek.

    My point being is that I am all of these things, as are so many of us.

    A person could be paying particular interest to one area of his life (say, photography) and so for the period, he defines himself as a photographer. It’s not necessarily because he’s trying to hide the fact that he’s a barman, it may just be that he’s giving himself the courage and strength to pursue his photographic hobby into something more.

    I once attended a writer’s course. The name of it was “Writer’s write”, and that about sums it up for me. If you write, you are a writer. If you don’t, then you’re not.

  20. the addition of profesional before a description as painter or writer should be only made if you do get paid for it. But what makes someone an artist has no answer in my point of view. We can’t ask Vincent van Gogh who was a no good lazy low life that wouldn’t apply himself to no usefull work all of his life. Still, he qualifies even in his own lifetime he qaulified.

  21. Very controversial topic… You cannot sell someone short by defining them as their jobs…this is wrong, wrong, wrong
    There are many underemployed people with many more dimensions to their personality and many talents not included in the title of the “profession” they are forced to use to pay their bills…

  22. I’m a retired teacher, that was my profession. I used to paint, dance and act – those were my hobbies. My recent hobbies are photography and writing, especially poetry. I can call myself a poet and amateur photographer, but I cannot call myself a writer as I do not write that much. If one day I get my work self-published, I might accept that I’m sort of a writer. I don’t know if that makes any sense to you. Thanks for liking my post ‘Dandelion’s Travels’. Cheers 🙂 Irina

  23. A true profession requires talent, training, hard work, and originality, as well as taking yourself and your work seriously. Whether or not you earn money for your work is irrelevant, in my view.

  24. When people ask what i do, i assume they mean my employment – what pays my wage, i am currently unemployed so i refer to the volunteer work i do until i am once again employed. However, i also tell people i do photography and art as i spend an equal amount of time outside of working or volunteering, drawing, painting or taking photographs and studying web design. I have also read before, that a famous writer was quoted as having said to someone ‘if you write, you are a writer’ and i consider myself an artist and photographer because this is what i do all of the time. But i dont claim to be employed as an artist or photographer because i have not yet been or sold my work. Many artists never become successful or photographers, in these cases i would still consider it to be something they ‘do’. Its irrelevant if they were fortunate enough to get full time work in it because in the world of art and photography you are very very fortunate to be able to earn a living from it. Its likely you will always have ‘day jobs’ that say nothing about who you are or what you ‘really do’. Forgive us if we appear to be deceptive, but it is hurtful to be defined by jobs we hate to do, and only do because we have to. We dont like to talk about our bar jobs, customer service jobs, etc.. we have no interest in them at all you see and are hurt we have not been successful enough to be able to stop doing them permanently.

  25. After reading your first paragraph above, I have to admit to a bit of bending the truth. OK, a lot of bending the truth. I think I will change the title of my blog now. I am not a professional, but a hobbyist who may one day become a professional. But at the moment, no. I do not mean to insult or confuse anyone. Thank you for writing this blog. I appreciate the insight.

  26. To me, “writer” is a description of an inherent quality or passion. I used to get hung up on the money thing, which only discouraged me from doing what I loved. I write because it’s as second nature to me as breathing… calling myself a writer is like calling myself a human. Thanks for weighing in :-).

  27. S81-
    Tanks fer stoppin y my newest blog. I’m glad ya like er’. I always try to stop y and pay respects.
    But I have always found this argument fascinating so I had to add my two cents.
    I believe you make some very valid points.Though I have not made much income over the years I have been a paid poet/writer. I have been published in zines and have had numerous poems included in chapbooks as well as a a chapbook of my own published in the 90’s. I have written for magazine’s, was paid fer a video game treatment and a few assorted projects.
    I have won a number of awards for poetry, won countless poetry slams,and most recently won “the mayors award’ for literature in the city I lived in at the time;
    Having said all that does that make me a writer or a hobbyist?
    Lol I have had this discussion before with many a individual and may have even blogged about it at some point.
    I know a lot of poets who have had books published and do very well who I would consider good “craftsman”, but they are also engineers, or teachers, or etc…
    They are those things first, they write as a hobby, as you put it above.
    Me, this is really all I am, these words. I am driven with a head full of nonsense to first scribble, now tap out these thoughts since I have been a wee lad.(as you English would put it,:))
    I only work, what little I have been able to do over the years because I haven’t ever made enough writing to stay alive. And unlike other people I cannot seem to do both simultaneously oh it is to laugh.
    Yes I agree with you regarding everyone and their brother claiming to be this type of artist or another, this is especially true in poetry n’ photography and so we must be careful in what we claim to be. (as well as write I take pictures and sometimes draw but those are hobbies).
    However I also believe that simply because you do not have a long list of accomplishments and paid writing assignments does not mean you are not a writer (ipso facto as it were).
    If “The Road” had never been written any where but on those sheets of toilet paper would that have made Kerouac any less of a writer?
    Annnyway thanks again fer stoppin by as always I tend to ramble so fergive me on that.
    Dysu.

  28. Hi There
    Well what an interesting post that generated so much interest. I am a master of Sumie, though I’ve sold nothing. I have created many masterworks that I basically just pile up because I love to paint and I don’t love to go to shows or paint in public or any of thos other things that professional artists do. But I am an artist, no doubt. I have a master who I have trained with for 8 years. I still train with him today and he is qualified to award me the title master. He studied with Dr. Ohta, a Japanese National Treasure. I have won awards for a couple of paintings. The awards validated me, then it just wasn’t important anymore.

    I am a working photographer, always shooting and studying with masters who will help me improve my skills. I have won awards for a couple of photos. I just love making beautiful images. I hope to have a show in a gallery someday — I want to publish a photography book. I have not been paid yet, but I keep working because I want to be paid.

    I am a product manager in a software company and I design software. I am part architect, part engineer, part programmer, part project manager, part trainer, part graphic designer.

    When someone asks me about myself I usually prefer to tell them about my art and my photography, and my horse riding because those are things that give me joy and I want you to find me interesting.

    If they ask me what my job which I do get paid for is I give them the elevator speech – I’m a product manager for a growing software company. It’s creative work and I really love it!

    I can see where you felt deceived by the guy since you were asking about employment and that is a different question than “what do you like to do?” Most likely he was just trying to impress you. He wanted you to like him so he told you about the part of himself that he likes best.

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  30. http://jackiespeaksit2014.wordpress.com/weekly-writing-challenge-dpchallenge/ WOW you are a writer and a photo person. I did the photo challenge for three years and in 2014 want to write more. It’s hard to read and do my book reviews in college full time. Most new people tell what they love to do or talk about but following through is in fact another topic to discuss. I love photos but I believe in being a better writer in 2014. I really enjoyed reading your post, stop by if you have time, Jackie

  31. Good question, I am a painter, actually I mean I do spent lot of time at it, except for a few low periods…, I do blog also, mainly because I want to show my work; sometimes I do sell a few paintings but barely enough to pay for materials, blogging also help me connect with peoples who like my work, all that being said I have a regular job to pay rent, bread, butter and everything else. So I guess I’m not a professional blogger, maybe a bit more professionnal artist, although I don’t earn enough money to qualify for being a professionnal one….then maybe I am a very dedicated person who love making art and blogging as a way of getting a little bit known by peoples who otherwise I would never had met…..(excuse my poor english, french is my mother language…)

  32. I think if someone blogs he or she is a blogger. If someone paints he or she is a painter. If someone scuba dives he or she is a diver.

    When it comes to a professional side of things if someone earns money from what they do and also dedicates numerous hours to their job, they are a professional, because it is their profession.

    If someone were to come up to me today and ask me my profession, diving and blogging would be the last thing on my list. However if that same person asked me my hobbies? Then I would say I am a blogger and a diver.

  33. You write well, and here you seem to have touched the pulse of many a wannabe or should i say amateur writers…. when you read a piece of writing you read it because it has been written, that implies by some writer, however if you reread it that means well written… they say the qualification of a classic writing is its ability to last over a hundred years and still retain relevance.. between an amateur and a classic author there are all shades and levels of writers like the steps of a ladder and we must start from the first step.. how long we go depends on so many things, most beyond us, when life places you in circumstances where you can see and feel the pains, the pleasures, the emotions that are truly universal and your exposure, maturity, and practice enables you to put it in words, words that are coherent, logical, effective and strike a chord in the mind and heart of the reader(s)… you write beautifully and thought provokingly, so many responses to your post are the proof.. yet i think you overemphasise the importance of a certificate from others or those already established in the field… so many times we come to know that the author of a great book died a pauper / was unrecognised and penniless in his lifetime .. you must give a hundred years to a writing to prove itself but the author may not last that long.. a virgin, beautiful lily blooming in the wilderness is still a flower before its plucked and sold in the market. … don’t learn from the bartender, learn from the lives of those who you aspire to be. In India most of the great works are anonymous and are called SHRUTI i.e. it has been heard.. who said is not known because either they didn’t want to be famous or couldn’t be remembered.. but their words remain sacred and light beacons to many, centuries after they have gone… i just started my blog and don’t know the technical nuances .. writing with a pen was much simpler when i first dabbled with it about twenty years ago. .so my blog will make me look a very poor blogger but i might learn with time or Time might change.

  34. Interesting column, for the most part.

    Too bad that so many people seek to define others by their current jobs.
    I have had a wide variety of work experiences. My current position, does not reflect anything about who I am, or my previous work. People are quite surprised.

    A good mind, and some serious backbone. can take one to numerous places.

    I believe in that old saying: Cogito ergo sum….. I think, therefore I am.

    I am a writer, a musician and photographer. Can achieve pro level in all of those pursuits. Though, I do not define myself as a professional. At times, I have received compensation for all of these areas. Even made a living at one of them.

    Having the ability to perform, is the most essential qualification in creative tasks .The monetary requirement of being paid, factors in lower on the scale. Many talented, creative types, are one lucky break way. A contract to prove that they are indeed pros. Guess what? That person is the same!

    How many wonderful sounding musicians are self-taught? Plenty. Are they not pros, because their day job pays the bills? Nonsense.

    A dear friend of mine, has the soul of a poet. He works construction.

    No need to argue about these things. There are unlimited paths through life.

    Just one more thing…

    My way of getting to know people is definitely this approach. What are your interests?

  35. Nice thoughts on the topic. I like to say I’m a writer who has a blog. I think someone is a writer if they write, and if they decide they are. If you are published, then you are a published writer. I think better to try to be a “good writer” with good skills then be thought of as a writer at all.

    • Thank you – I think that most people seem to have taken the wrong idea from my post – my point wasn’t to insult anybody’s writing skills, it was to discuss the fact that you shouldn’t be able to call yourself a professional at something unless you are paid for it…

      • Agreed, (and wow you certainly have a few “rants” in this thread!) the term professional insinuates a definite expertise. Like a long time magazine or newspaper columnist, or multi published novelist maybe.

      • I decided not to respond to most of the rants – they clearly hadn’t read the post properly and decided to get on their high horses so I just left them to it. There were a few who created a post in response, which I did comment on, but I saw that the more angry someone was, the more publicity the post got… It was a win/win – my stats rocketed and they got to have a rant (it’s just a shame that they were ranting about a different subject to my post!)

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  38. Your post got me to thinking. A hobbyist would fit most of what I have done in my life. I like to say I’m a ‘jack of all trades, and master of none.” To me a professional is someone who knows their craft so well they could teach it. Like in the days of the caste system, when you would become an apprentice of a Master. Or someone who has risen to the top of their profession and are being paid. I guess there are several ways to explain a ‘professional.’ I always thought that you had to be published through a traditional publishing house to be able to call yourself an author.

    Either way, you make an excellent point. At what level can we finally call ourselves anything but a hobbyist? I think it depends on the profession. Thank you for your blog!

  39. I must have missed this when it was first posted. It’s an interesting question. When I think of myself I think being a writer is who I am and my job is what I do. Kind of like the barman you mentioned who said he was a photographer. He may not have been embarrassed about being a barman but it’s not necessarily who he thinks of himself as. He’s just tending bar until he can make a living at what he loves. Btw, when are we going to see video of your string quartet here on your blog?

  40. I’m not sure why the labels matter. I call myself a writer & a photographer because I spend focused amounts of time doing those things. I haven’t been paid to do those things but they are important to me.
    Our culture doesn’t balue writing & photography so those who engage in the pursuits of passion often have to have another means of supporting themselves.
    For me, my day job is teaching. Or rather academic coaching – teaching teachers to teach better. & while it’s important work that occasionally brings me joy, it’s not how I choose to define myself.
    How someone else defines themself doesn’t make a difference in how I define myself. We teach kids that writers are people who write, photographers are people who take photos. I Do both of those things so I claim them for myself.

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  42. Money-schmoney!
    I think that if you blog, than you’re a blogger. If you write, than you’re a writer. Depending on whether your writing is for someone other than yourself or not (like for a company or for a different website other than your own), you’re a professional or hobbyist.

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