The Hazards of an Occupation - What It Means to be a Writer
I have never dared to call myself a writer in public until now.
I have not yet won a Nobel Prize or even a writing contest; in fact, I earn a living at the moment as a desk rat behind a screen typing out equations and formulas at a corporate company. There is nothing traditionally poetic about my current rhythm of life and the very people who often ask me what I wish to do for a living meet me with either a scorn or a smirk when I speak of being a professional writer.
Writing, as much as reading, is always marginalized to a hobby for most, the reason being that it usually cannot pay for the ever expanding expenses of necessities and luxuries that is the embalmed American way of life. As the admissions and demands of society towards its guests - as there are none who live without the cultural and legal shackles of civilization - grow more profound, so does the pressure to sideline skills that once served as vital distinction between animal and man. To dare to be a writer, then, is to be a countermeasure against a monetary whiplash. To be a writer is to enlighten others to participate in social salvage and give them something to read.
To be a professional writer isn't about being able to pay everyday expenses with one set paycheck; it's about having an audience, two cohorts of hobbyists preaching to the choir. As long as you have readers, you are a professional writer. Now go get them.