1 The Wannabe Writer
This one goes to the writer conferences, sits in on readings at book stores, maybe joins a writing group. This one loves to be around writers, loves to talk writing and selling and working at the craft. This one hardly ever writes a line of his or her own. This might be in the field of fiction, fact, or poetry. A true WANNABE.
2 The Enthusiastic Writer
This person may be in a good writer’s group, but never gets around to reading or sharing anything that he or she has written. Gets excited at the writing group, and may be a good evaluator and critic, but when it comes to reading is “too busy right now” to get anything on paper.
3 The Writing Writer
Meet the writer who actually gets things down on paper. It might be a journal or a fling at nonsense poetry or a try at writing an article. It could be for “personal expression” or “personal growth” but it has little to do with writing for sale.
4 The Serious Writer
This person works at his or her craft. Must be in a writing critique group. Takes turns at reading his or her output. Learns as the sessions go along, develops in craft, structure and techniques while learning about the markets and what may sell and what doesn’t have a chicken chance in a fox den. Will develop and someday will sell.
5 The Selling Writer
This one now sells articles, short stories, or novels. Again, this person will attend a good writing group with a critique session and will participate, learn to take criticism, and benefit from it. May be working up in the field and earning more, but a long way from making a living at it. Writing might still be a hobby with no thought of going full time.
6 The Full-Time Selling Writer
This is the nub of it. A person who can write to sell and make a living at it as a freelance. Not working for someone else, but out on his or her own and making it. These people mostly will be novelists, since that’s where it is easiest these days to make a living. Short story writing is spotty and lower paying. Selling poetry is not a way to make a living. At last estimate, two or three people in the entire country make a living by only selling poetry. These writers know what sells and how to make writing work for them.