Funny thing about goldfish. They only grow to the size of their bowl. At least, that’s what I’ve heard. I’m not a fish person.

You can feed them Ben & Jerry’s Double Chocolate Gummy Worm ice cream, and they still won’t outgrow their bowl. Why? I don’t know. This isn’t an article about fish.

It’s an article about writing. And more specifically, your writing, and your place in the writing world.

Are you content to call your writing a hobby? If so, then that’s fine. You will be very happy in your bowl with plenty of room to swim. But if you want to bust out of that bowl, there are steps to take, and they don’t involve eating Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, with or without worms.

First, you must start calling yourself an author. Seems a pretty simple step, but you’d be surprised at how hard that is for some people. Do you write? Anything? For publication, hopefully, someday? Then you’re an author.

Second, treat it as a job. No, you can’t write only when the muse hits you if you are an author. Set a time and place to do your job. If you can only manage an hour on Saturdays at the local McDonalds while your kids are in McPlayland, that’s fine. But stick to it. That’s your part-time writing job. I suggest clocking in and out as you would any job. You can do that in a notebook or you can create a spreadsheet. I have directions on how to set up your own on my blog.

Third, network. No, this doesn’t mean spending all your time on Facebook. Um. . .don’t go looking at my profile. By network, I mean meet people who can further your career. Go to conferences to talk to editors and agents. Join ACFW and other writing organizations. Talk to successful authors to see how they got as far as they did.

Hobbies are fine. And if you’re content with writing an article here, a devotion there, playing with your novel, no one is saying that’s wrong. But if you feel deep down into your soul that this could be a career for you, start calling yourself an author.

Learn. Grow. Leap out of that bowl!

Kathleen E. Kovach is the ACFW Rocky Mountain Zone Director and has published four books with two more contracted. For tips on organization, go to and find “Organize Yourself as a Writer” in the label section.

Picture above is attributed to / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0