The issue is, I think, the result of having a touch of professionalism brought to writing that didn’t exist until roughly twenty years ago. This evolved from blogging that evolved from email newsletters in the ‘90s that existed if you could get a big enough list of people you wanted to talk with and because it was free. The ancestor in prehistoric times was both the “club” mimeograph newsletter and the Christmas card family update.
This is only 25 years, total. None of this was professional and was expected be terrible. Otherwise most of us tried to write interesting letters but that was dying back in the mid 20th century. There was never any thought to money in fact the exact opposite. Only the rich could afford self publishing resulting in books given to embarrassed relatives never to be read.
We have no professional hook to hang our hats. In fact we’re a bit embarrassed to get paid as described here. But it grows on you.
Writing was never a sport or we could consider ourselves ‘semipro’. The odds of making a living at it are not really there but you can claim a social position that had been lost with the disappearance of prodigious letter writers in the last half of the 20th century. But that only mattered if you wrote to enough interesting people and did things to have your letters collected after you were dead.
I like this a lot better.