What is the difference being between a professional writer and a person that writes as a hobby?
Is it more than just the income, or is that the distinction?
I have read many offerings from individuals that make there living from their writing, and I can say they weren't all professional. I have also read offerings from people whom I would say were just doing it for relaxation, or fun, or to express themselves and find it professionally produced. So I may need to dig into your question a little.
If you are asking if someone only writes for the cathartic value, even though they may actually pick up some coin along the way at HubPages, does that make them a professional writer? You see, the way you framed your question matters.
A professional baseball player, a professional football player, and a professional basketball player walk into a bar....the beginnings of a good joke maybe. But keep in mind, you may be able to differentiate these people against others who play baseball, football and basketball beyond the fact that they get paid, right? Because they are really, really good at what they do. What is the difference between these professionals and a professional writer, aside from some level of athletic performance?
If you are considering writing professionally, I suggest short stories, articles for magazines of specific genre', or trade publications where you can get practice. Become knowledgeable of something better than most others and tell people about it. If it is food, divide that down to one course, main, appetizer, desert, drinks, and know it better than anyone - and write so I want to eat the page and will get fat doing it.
That's my shot at an answer, I hope it helps!
An amateur, i.e. a hobbyist, is someone who does something for the love of it, rather than for money. A professional does something for money. So, money is the dictionary distinction.
If you are asking for money for your writing, you are putting yourself out there more, and possibly setting a higher bar for your performance, to compete with all the other people out there asking for money for their writing.
That being said, people write, dance, sing, play the accordion, etc., for lots of reasons, passion being among them. Passion plus talent plus discipline could combine to make your writing money-worthy whether you choose to pursue that avenue or not.
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