How do you define being professional? Is it simply that professionals share their skills for money and an amateur does it for love and/or pleasure? Do professionals not love what they do? Can an amateur not accept money for something they have created?
Is there a clear distinction between the two? The word amateur is often used condescendingly to dismiss lower quality work. But there are many examples of work by amateur musicians, writers, artists or photographers that are equal or better than that produced by so-called professionals. What makes a professional then?
A professional is someone who is fully committed to their creative process. Pros don't wait to be inspired to create, they work at it on a daily basis. They don't allow themselves to be defined by failure and criticism but use it strategically to hone their craft. Professionals know there will be times when they want to quit but they maintain the discipline and commitment to move forward. Amateurs make excuses, professionals make plans.
Professionals decide what they want to be good at and have a deep understanding of why. They are committed to their process, develop creative routines and stick to them. Professionals aren't trying to be a musician, writer, artist or photographer, they are a musician, writer, artist or photographer. It permeates their total being and informs their every action and decision. They are fully committed to their craft.
That's a professional.