The Ameteur Approach

If you’re an ameteur writer like me then you may find yourself sometimes feeling a little envious of the professionals out there. Those are the people who get to write stories all day as a career, and even get paid for it. Don’t get me wrong, I would never call their job easy, and I know there is a lot more to it than just ‘the fun bits’. There is research, editting, and all of the business aspects of publishing and marketing a novel. But sometimes, just sometimes, I wonder what it would be like to put aside my stable income from software development and just be a novelist full time. (Then I look at the mortgage and the power bill, and thank God that I have a regular predictable income.)

For better or worse, we ameteurs have chosen to make writing a hobby rather than a career. It makes it harder to find time to write, and even if we do succeed in getting a book both written and published, we will never keep up with out output of stories that a professional would. Could it be however, that there are advantages to the ameteur approach? For a start ameteur writing is a great way to practice, and develop a talent.

Several months ago, novelist and blogger K.M. Weiland wrote about the importance of daydreaming. In her article she pointed out that it can be sometimes difficult for a busy writer to make the time for this essential creative activity. As I listened to the podcast of this article I began to realise that my ameteur approach gave me a little advantage in this area.

Between work, home and kids, I don’t often find much time for writing. I’m lucky if I can get a good solid “story date” once a month. Because of this, I tend to do a lot of thinking about my stories in between writing sessions. I do a lot of creative day-dreaming. It’s what makes me feel like I’m still a writer, even when I’m not doing much writing. I find the best time for this is when I am walking to and from work. I always park my car a good fifteen minutes walk from the office. This is because I’ve found a free carpark in an adjoining suburb, and I flat-out refuse to pay money just to park my car. As an added benefit, I get my 30 minutes of excercise each day. Much of my novel has been sorted out in my head during this walk. In fact, over the last year I have mentally ‘written’ several sequels to my novel walking to and from work. My most creative moments seem to come out of this type of activity. Even as a teenager I would make up stories while going for walks with my family, to type up later.

There are many advantages to being an ameteur writer, this is just one of them. We write simply because we love it. If some day a publisher sees enough promise in our work to give it a go, then that is an awesome bonus.

I seem to have writing on my mind a lot lately, and this has certainly come out in my blogging (it is in fact one of the reasons I have resumed blogging regularly.) This will all culminate on the 17th of July when I take part in a blog chain with some other great people from ChristianWriters.com.

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About Adam David Collings

Adam Collings is a writer of speculative fiction who works as a software engineer during the day. He lives in Tasmania, Australia with his wife and two children. Adam is currently working on a science fiction novel.
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