Experienced Writers, How Did You Get Serious?

#1
I guess I'll go ahead and ask this question, mainly from more long-time authors on this site.

After over a month of writing my butt off my story is reaching a few new breaking points. I'm wrapping up my first story arc with tomorrow's chapter, I've hit a new personal record for followers on both RR and SH, and I've been asked to start a Patreon a few times by a few different people. Great success. Right? Well yes but actually maybe. I feel like I'm standing on the precipice of a whole new world. I'm a little scared to open a Patreon, I feel like once I do I can't back out. It becomes real then. It's not like I want to back out or stop writing but I'm afraid that I'll do what I always do and fade into obscurity. At the very least I've recognized that I can't go further if I don't change the way I do things.

That leads me to the title. Perhaps if you tell me your story of crossing this threshold of pure hobbyist to amateur-professional (or even just straight up professional, idk this is just a thread. I don't know you until you reply.) I might be able to let go of spamming the refresh button and bring my focus back to what's important, continuing to write.

Oh great experienced authors, please share your wisdoms with this young one!

DrakanPotato

Re: Experienced Writers, How Did You Get Serious?

#3
I started writing back in 2016 when I wrote Book 1 in my Aeonica series. (Took me like a year and a half to write 120k words) Then I spent another year doing a second draft of that book, then I started the sequel in 2018.

I was definitely an amateur for all of this. Not because of money or popularity though. I was an amateur because I didn't write every day. I treated it like a casual hobby rather than a job. Sure, I wanted to write every day, but it didn't always happen. If I was tired that day, I didn't worry about it. If I had writer's block, I gave up and told myself I'd catch up on the weekend. I had a vague goal of publishing one chapter per week, but I didn't always meet it.

But then I made a simple spreadsheet sometime in 2018 and started keeping track of my daily word count. This forced me to come face-to-face with all the unintentional days off I was taking.

Once I had this spreadsheet going for few weeks, I took my average daily word count, increased that by 10%, and made that my new daily goal. It was definitely modest—around 400 words per day, but I stuck with it, and that's what mattered.

I kept increasing this by 10%, and eventually, I was able to post chapters every week, exactly when I said I would. Regardless of when I started making money from writing, I think that was the point I became a "professional."

Re: Experienced Writers, How Did You Get Serious?

#4


David Wrote: I started writing back in 2016 when I wrote Book 1 in my Aeonica series. (Took me like a year and a half to write 120k words) Then I spent another year doing a second draft of that book, then I started the sequel in 2018.

I was definitely an amateur for all of this. Not because of money or popularity though. I was an amateur because I didn't write every day. I treated it like a casual hobby rather than a job. Sure, I wanted to write every day, but it didn't always happen. If I was tired that day, I didn't worry about it. If I had writer's block, I gave up and told myself I'd catch up on the weekend. I had a vague goal of publishing one chapter per week, but I didn't always meet it.

But then I made a simple spreadsheet sometime in 2018 and started keeping track of my daily word count. This forced me to come face-to-face with all the unintentional days off I was taking.

Once I had this spreadsheet going for few weeks, I took my average daily word count, increased that by 10%, and made that my new daily goal. It was definitely modest—around 400 words per day, but I stuck with it, and that's what mattered.

I kept increasing this by 10%, and eventually, I was able to post chapters every week, exactly when I said I would. Regardless of when I started making money from writing, I think that was the point I became a "professional."
What is measured can be improved right? I think I'll do that, treat it seriously. Thanks for the tip.