Every once in a while, I run across people who are baffled and frustrated by the behavior of certain talented friends of theirs. “They can write great stuff; why don’t they?” “Their fanfic is great; why don’t they try to submit stuff professionally?” “They’ve sold a bunch of books; why don’t they quit their day job and write full-time?”
In all of the cases I’m familiar with, the short answer to all of these questions is “Because they don’t want to.” That one isn’t interested in writing; his consuming passion is for his woodworking hobby, and no matter how many people tell him that he can write and should write and could sell that stuff he tosses off now and then, he’s just not interested. This one has no interest in making up her own characters; she wants to write about those characters, from that TV series, and nobody else, and there is no professional market for those stories, so fanfic is it for her, thanks anyway. The other one tried “being a full-time writer” ages ago and hated it, and likes having a day job and writing on the side, and sees no reason to disrupt a life that works perfectly well and pleasantly, just because lots of other people think that being a full-time writer is the be-all and end-all of desireable situations.
And then there are the folks who ask similar questions of published writers: “When are you going to write a real book?” (i.e., one that’s not genre, or not children’s, or not whatever one is currently writing) “Why are you writing media tie-ins, when you have such wonderful original characters and plots?” “Why don’t you do a novel/more short stories?” And a lot of the time, the answer is the same: the writer is happy writing what they’re writing, and doesn’t particularly want to do a “real book” or work in some other length or whatever.
What one person wants out of his/her writing, or out of your writing career, isn’t always what other people want out of theirs. It is worth providing encouragement if it seems appropriate – some folks really would like to write, or go professional, or quit their day jobs, and just need to have somebody believe in them. (I’d have stuck with my day job for several more years, at least, if it hadn’t been for my then-husband’s encouragement and support. And I’d have been miserable.)
But sometimes people just aren’t ready yet to make the leap, whether it’s the leap to writing as a career or whether it’s the leap to writing at all. And some folks are happy right where they are. If you can’t tell the difference, you might want to try asking…and then believing people when they say they’re not interested right now. Or try it yourself and see what happens.