After reading this post about what it means to be a professional writer and answering most of the questions no*, I got to thinking. If I’m going to be a dilettante, then it seems to me I should take some pride in it. And how can you take pride in something without rules that exclude other people? Therefore, here is my quiz. Ideally, you should answer “yes” to all ten questions, but I’ll cut you some slack if you plan to answer them when you’re inspired. If you fail, then please don’t consider yourself a true dilettante.
1. Do you regularly look at the next blank page of your manuscript and decide to take a nap?
2. Do you have the strength of character to face the sober truth that, while Art is eternal, the demand for attention by your dog or cat is immediate?
3. Do you often stare at the phone, desperately hoping for the news that some not-too-close-but-not-too-distant relative has become gravely ill and is now interestingly pale so you have an excuse to go to the hospital instead of working?
4. Does the idea of missing the next episode of “Burn Notice” or “Downton Abbey” fill you with such existential despair that the very idea of writing becomes absurd?
5. When you hear the term, “The solitary vice” do you immediately think of all the computer solitaire games you play instead of writing?
6. Do you feel a burst of pleasure when a friend sends you a link to an amusing cat video that will occupy at least the next ten minutes of your writing day?
7. Are your evenings spent playing poker and 4000 mile road trips to Alaska utterly unrelated to any sort of research having to do with your current project?
8. Do you consider your friends who also write or edit to be friends rather than “networking opportunities” and do you go to conventions because you enjoy going to conventions?
9. Do you spend more time figuring out how to explain what a professional writer is than writing?