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After countless poor excuses, I have now finally said goodbye to my self-proclaimed, imagined amateur status. In short, I have become wiser, and have chosen to commit myself to living, acting and creating as a professional.

"Being self-taught, just like amateur status, in my book is a mark of nobility," it said until this morning, in the text where I describe my own background as an aspiring artist.

Perhaps because I have always belonged to the category myself, I have consistently used the word amateur in its best sense: as someone who "do what I do for love and pleasure, and not to make a business or make it big."

Fortunately, even the greatest and most consistent amateur of all is allowed to change his mind.

As anyone who has struggled with the creative process (and has read Steven Pressfield) will know, we humans are capable of coming up with the most insane excuses for not getting the job done.

What I've probably always known (but haven't had the desire or the heart to admit) is that what really separates the amateur from the professional is neither the money, the love, nor the passion, but the willingness to stand up and go to war with the given challenges every single day; not flaunt around like another windbag, but set yourself a concrete, ambitious goal, and work in that direction whenever and wherever the opportunity presents itself, come hell or high water.

Exactly as we approach all other (so-called) productive and paid work—in the same way, and with the same obviousness, we have to approach the creative closet.


Professionalism is damn demanding, draining, and procastination alluring, and present everywhere. Committing to a new creative project is not necessarily as pleasant as one might imagine, when one has never yet wholeheartedly dared to do so.

As anyone who has struggled with the creative process (and has read Steven Pressfield) will know, we humans are capable of coming up with the most insane excuses for not getting the job done.

As long as we haven't started, but still just have the idea of the great novel, the masterpiece, the perfect business case, or whatever the hell we're cooking up inside our heads, reality hasn't confronted us with its ugly, unreasonable demands. All options are still open and no doors closed.

It just doesn't help. Success may happen by chance, but it rarely happens to the dreamer who has never yet ventured out and created a work. The only surefire way to move forward is one tentative, uncertain step at a time: professionally.

The analogy to a regular, professional career is straightforward:

You don't wait to show up to the day job because you haven't gotten your much-needed night's sleep, feel out of sorts, or would rather just spend a sunny day at the beach.

As a craftsman, you don't pack up your tools and leave the construction site for lack of inspiration, but grit your teeth and get started where it makes the most sense. You start in one corner, and take and tackle the mistakes and setbacks you encounter with the best possible mood. You do your work, because it's the better alternative to not doing it. Because you have to.

Acting professionally is the opposite of allowing arbitrariness to prevail. To act professionally is to take responsibility and define one's own narrative intentionally.

Let those be the closing words for now: We can't do it all, but at least we can choose for ourselves. The past few years, when I have finally begun to show my true colors as an artist, have taught me that it is never too late to make the leap from amateur to professional.

Then it could easily be that we will never be able to make an actual living from our true, creative passion. Nevermind. If only we allow ourselves to pretend, and actually commit to living as if it were the case, we are already there anyway.