Each camp has a point, and the existence of both indicates that there’s something deeper at work here, something intrinsic to the value of writing itself. The main reason writing gets contrasted with a “real job” is that writers do very often have outside sources of income, which is not unrelated to the ubiquity of unpaid gigs. It’s led to the assumption that self-proclaimed writers are either nighttime hobbyists, independently wealthy, or unemployed people who’ve landed on a good euphemism. The greater danger comes from the myth that published writers actually are living off their writing—or, more accurately, off the bylined writing you know about. And the first use of that hashtag contributes to the myth: It makes frank discussion of what writing pays (or doesn’t) even more taboo than is already the case. It isn’t a pernicious stereotype that “writer” is rarely a job in the way that “lawyer” or “garbage-collector” are. It’s the truth. And it’s not useful for the handful of writers living entirely off their creative output to pretend as if this is the normal state of affairs.
—All Work and No Pay, Phoebe Maltz Bovy