All the diverse responses from my posting about pay for creative people sparked a fire in my mind regarding the question of professional versus amateur. Many of the professional groups I belong to have a two-tier system where you have to have sold X amount to belong to the "pro" level. Yet every group has differing criterion and calls the levels different things. From "Pre-published" to "Associate" (sold a bit but not enough) to "Affiliate" to "Full" (Pro) member, the list goes on and on. And of course they need some criterion for membership. But still...
So: What does it mean to be an amateur? Or a professional? Can you be both at the same time? (I believe you can.)
After long thought I've decided what comprises a pro for me is more what they do. What a pro does:
Realizes, accepts and embraces that anything creative is also hard work.
Is willing to continue to learn and question and challenge the work.
Understands that criticism can be the best tool.
Understands that all judgment is subjective.
Understands that rejection is part of the process.
And most important, the sign of a professional in the creative world: Keeps going.
The last means no matter what. No matter the setbacks, the rejections, the lack of recognition or pay, the difficulty of getting up and creating each day. Keeps going.
So, dear reader, what do you think of my list? Do you agree with my criterion? Does something need to be removed? Added?