Wednesday, May 19th, 2010 11:31 am

this is where i say, cool

Related to the entire Unfunny Prowriter making vague whining sounds about fanfic that we all celebrated in song and rhyme and whatnot, but much more interesting.

From comments, [ profile] sapote3:
It took me a couple of days to source this, but I think it's pretty accurate. According to the US Department of Labor, there are about 43,000 people who make their living through writing (including screenwriting, ads, movies, etc), but only about 8,000 that make a living writing for newspapers, periodicals, books, and directories (all combined). According to the Writer's Directory 2010, there are about 23,000 writers in the world who have published at least one book in English, including nonfiction works. The Directory of American Writers and Poets (again, including nonfiction) lists about 8,000 names. According to Wikipedia, has two million users, and I don't even know how big lj fandom is - lj searches top out at 2,000 people. Heck, there as many active Dreamwidth accounts as there are writers who have published any book in English ever - 23,000ish.

So while my numbers are vague, I think the idea that we're a smaller population then prowriters is pretty laughable. - link to comment

Can I say "Welcome to Thunderdome." in portentous tones now and be culturally relevant or is that too melodramatic? Because come the fuck on. My log alone for the last two years numbers above one thousand authors and I only read in four fandoms actively. AO3--which is in beta--has 6946 authors to date.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say, yeah. This is not an improbable conclusion.

Note: non-English speaking work is not represented, though now I would be interested if we could even get world-wide statistics in publishing both English and non-English works. I guess individually pulling from each country's equivalent department would do it if it were public information, with a variable for translated works (I once read Basic Instinct--yes, Basic Instinct--in Finnish). Especially since from what I can tell, I think several of the non-English language fanfic communities are extremely robust and growing fairly rapidly.

PS Do we count non-published doujin? And someone give me the right spelling on that one, google and wiki were not helpful.

I am posting so I won't buy boots, okay? Okay.

ETA: Okay, off-topic, but there's an awesome discussion on hobby mining here. Hobby mining! Tell me that is not awesome.
ratcreature: RatCreature is thinking: hmm...? (hmm...?)

2010-05-19 07:10 pm (UTC)
I'm actually not sure that is true for all things, as there are a number of activities that are almost always done professionally if you need it done, but are rare as a hobby occupation (unlike various artistic endeavors where it is more the reverse). Like for example things like making machinery and other non-decorative metal work. Sure some do this kind of thing as a hobby and DIY thing, but my guess is the majority of these people have learned it as a job or at least a related trade (I mean, my grandfather did this as a hobby after he retired, but his work had been along similar lines). However the investment for metalworking gear is relatively high (getting worse the more precision you want), the space requirements (at least a large garage) are large too, and most people don't feel a need for machinery that they couldn't just buy (and much cheaper), so it's not all that popular as a hobby, but a ton of people work in the industry that makes metal into specialized machine parts and ultimately machines.

Then there are occupations that are just not possible in most countries non-professionally. Miners for come to mind. I guess you can have some Klondike gold-rush situations where non-miners try at mining, but a lot of people work professionally as miners, and I have never heard any significant number does this as a hobby.
ratcreature: RatCreature's toon avatar (Default)

2010-05-19 09:03 pm (UTC)
Well, some people collect stones and are into mining history, so I suppose if it was more feasible hobby mining would have its followers. I still remember a family vacation into the Harz when I was little where I was dragged through historical mines and my father lectured me for hours (or so it seemed) about rocks. And he bought a bunch of rocks too.
ratcreature: RL? What RL? RatCreature is a net addict.  (what rl?)

2010-05-19 09:53 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I think in many fields there are plenty of people interested as a hobby, and read about it etc., but you can't really do much of anything in those fields as a hobbyist.

Like you can be interested in particle physics as a hobby certainly, but it's not like you could build yourself an accelerator or any other relevant experimental setup in your garden shed (and probably a good thing too or we'd end up in a comic book universe of tinkering supervillains developing death rays...*G*), so you can't actually do particle physics actively as a hobby.

So it is only fairly accessible occupations that have a larger number of hobbyists than professionals that essentially produce similar things. But the more and the more expensive stuff you need, the faster the number of people trying it for fun drops I suspect. One only has to look at the number of vidders vs the number of fanwriters (and how the number of vidders has increased once digital video editing became common place).

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out_there: B-Day Present '05 (Default)

2010-05-20 01:13 am (UTC)
I don't know if it counts, but there are groups in melbourne who explore underground drains and caves as a hobby, proving that people do all sorts of weird stuff for fun.

2010-05-20 07:25 am (UTC)
I actually knew someone who did that. He and his dad had a claim. It was a small one, and I don't know if they ever really got anything out of it or what they were mining for, but... And goldpanning is fairly popular.
lazar_grrl: (Default)

2010-05-20 05:51 pm (UTC)
There was that teenager who tried to make a nuclear reactor in his back yard. He later enlisted in the Navy to become a nuclear engineering tech. They wisely refused to let him.
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)

2010-05-19 09:04 pm (UTC)
I sort-of-vaguely-remember being told (while visiting the Southwest some years back) that there were 'weekend miners' who went hiking in the hope of rediscovering the Lost Dutchman Mine and other old mines that they hope might not be as played out as they were reported.
sapote: The TARDIS sits near a tree in sunlight (Default)

2010-05-19 09:33 pm (UTC)
I went here a lot as a kid. And there's always gold panning in Alaska - there are lots of people who go wandering around the backwoods panning in rivers.
shelf: icon of spoiler holding a syringe threateningly and looking at a naked green arrow (mad scientist)

2010-05-19 10:33 pm (UTC)
The sapphire mine looks like fun.

The guy who mowed my lawn (when I lived in a place that had a lawn) took off a month every year to go gold prospecting. Not quite mining, as I don't think there was any digging or canaries involved, but a similar idea.

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[personal profile] sapote - 2010-05-20 02:56 pm (UTC) - expand

Alaskan here

[personal profile] sholio - 2010-05-24 07:22 pm (UTC) - expand

2010-05-19 11:39 pm (UTC)
I went on an overnight school field trip to

Every once in a while, somebody actually finds one large enough to cut.
judas_river: (star wars: terribly dodgy)

2010-05-19 11:09 pm (UTC)
In the back country of northern California, there are quite a few people who pan for gold as a hobby, often working out of specially outfitted boats. I saw several of them while driving out to a potential campsite with my dad last summer.
minxy: daniel geek (daniel geek by jrmoon)

2010-05-19 11:30 pm (UTC)
In upstate New York, there's a quartz rock that you can dig for that resembles diamonds enough that they've made a tourist thing out of it. People come from miles around to go hobby mining!

Herkimer Diamond Mine
littlemousling: Yarn with a Canadian dime for scale (Default)

2010-05-20 05:52 am (UTC)
Yay, Herkimer! You gotta love a tourist site where you're encouraged to hit things with hammers.

(Also why I love Ringing Rocks Park. I think it would be a fantastic site for a wedding reception or graduation party: give everyone a hammer and a disposable camera, and you save yourself the cost of the photographer and the DJ!)

2010-05-20 03:42 am (UTC)
I was going to mention these guys! My dad used to go out with a friend of his.

Also hobby geologists are called rock hounds! (Which probably everybody knows.)

damned_colonial: Queen Elizabeth I of England (elizabeth)

2010-05-19 10:55 pm (UTC)
I know a hobby smelter, for what it's worth. (He's in the SCA. He was smelting iron with a forge heated with hand-powered bellows.)
ratcreature: RatCreature shrugs: Whatever. (whatever)

2010-05-20 01:44 am (UTC)
My point was not that nobody ever could do these other occupations as a hobby, but that there are not more hobbyists doing it than professionals. And I admit I don't have a statistic about hobby smelters vs. people employed making steel, but I'm fairly sure that it does not look like the number of hobby painters vs. professional fulltime artists or hobby writers vs. published authors.
edited at (typo) 2010-05-20 01:45 am (UTC)
cesy: "Cesy" - An old-fashioned quill and ink (Default)

2010-05-20 06:35 am (UTC)
I love this whole discussion.
esther_asphodel: Agatha Heteradyne is smiling. Be afraid. (Mad Science!)

2010-05-20 03:38 pm (UTC)
How about hobby steam locomotive repair? It wouldn't have been something that would have occured to me as something you could do as a volunteer run project, by my uncle and some guys he knows have been working on rebuilding an old steam train for the last couple of years.
alisx: (Default)

2010-05-19 11:42 pm (UTC)
Would depend on what kind of mining you're doing.

I mean, obviously strip mining isn't exactly hobby material, but that's not the only way to get ore/whatever (we just use it because we've already taken out most of the more easily-accessible veins, plus it's commercially viable).

Like, for instance, opal "mining" (i.e. finding opals on the ground) is a tourist attraction in some parts of here (Australia), and you do get people who go out on the weekend just hoping to find "the big one" or whatever. Ditto with old school gold panning, as you mentioned.

Actually, Google tells me that NSW Department of Mineral Resources (the state with Sydney in it, for non-Aussies) mentions hobby mining in its Criteria for Cancellation or Non Renewal of Mining Leases (discouraging it), so it must happen.
eponymousanon: Rainbow City (Default)

2010-05-19 11:55 pm (UTC)
And don't forget the historical re-enactors! There are plenty of areas that have re-enactments of gold-rush camps, complete with miners using gold-rush era methods, I'm sure. The re-enactors up in my neck of the woods are usually doing Oregon Trail-type stuff (those dresses are HEAVY in 90-degree heat) but we also have mountain men who know how to trap and hunt and pan for gold. They also throw tomahawks, and hit on teenage girls (in my experience, anyways--I never want to be told I'd make someone a good squaw again).


seperis: (Default)


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