Should writing be more than a hobby?

What are your hobbies?

I don’t know if it still is, but it used to be a thing, to share your hobbies or interests on your resume. To show you’re a well-rounded individual? I guess?

If that’s the case, then I’m pretty sure I’m not that well-rounded. My hobbies were, and still are: reading and writing. Sometimes I’d throw in travel, just for fun.

Writing, though, was never really a hobby. At least not how I would define it.

For me, and for our purposes today, I define a hobby as something I dabble in for fun, to unwind, to destress, in my spare time. Maybe I try to sell it on Etsy, maybe I share the pictures with family and friends, but it isn’t something I want to pursue in any really serious way.

Naturally, for many of us, something that starts out as a hobby becomes something we pursue seriously. And by seriously, I mean looking to make real income from it. Make it a career, or our business.

I may have started out writing in secret late at night or between classes at university, but it was never something I dabbled in just for fun.

Maybe you should keep writing as a hobby

It has been said to me, on more than one occasion, by someone close to me, that perhaps I should just keep writing as a hobby. Usually after I received a rejection from an agent or editor. 

They mean well. They see how the rejection hurt and they don’t want me to hurt.

There is also a fear on their part, that I am going to have the tiniest bit of success and up and quit my day job and have no financial security.

As good as their intentions are, their words had the opposite affect on me. 

It made me feel unheard, and not valued. My dreams and goals to write, are unworthy. I should just forget it. Sure, play in your little stories but don’t put any energy into it.

Can writing be more than a hobby?

Finding or making the time to write is difficult. Full-time work and responsibilities of family means we don’t have a lot of time to write. Because of that, it often feels like writing is more of a hobby than something we are seriously pursuing. 

Here is where the confusion happens: for something to not be a hobby, you need to spend hours on it a day. Otherwise, you’re just dabbling, and it is a hobby.

You don’t have to spend hours writing every day to seriously pursue it.

Of course consistency is great. If you can write every day, that is fantastic. But writing every day doesn’t work for everyone. Maybe writing every weekend, or a couple of evenings a week is all you can do. That’s fantastic! Maybe you can write every day, but only for an hour. Perfect!

The difference, then, between writing as a hobby and it being more than a hobby, is what you want to do with your writing.

What is your intention?

Writing for yourself, or to share with a few family and friends? That’s a hobby. If that’s you? Go for it. Embrace it. Love it. 

If you want to see your book in print, have others, not just family and friends, reading your stories, that is more than a hobby. Go for it. Embrace it. Love it!

Yes, I said the same thing for both. Because writing should never feel like drudgery, something you have to do. You should want to do it. Whether it is a hobby or something you do full time, and everything in between.

But like most everything else, intention isn’t enough. It becomes necessary for us to take concrete action steps toward our goals.

Action steps

There are a lot of steps we can do toward actively achieving our writing goals. Of course, the main step is to write. And just like writing, you don’t have to do these steps all at once, or every day, or even once a month. Some of the action steps that make writing more than a hobby are:

  1. Researching agents and editors
  2. Reading widely, and analytically to learn from authors already at the level you want to be at
  3. Seeking serious answers to your writing questions and learning from those answers and not asking and re-asking the same question over and over again
  4. Challenging yourself to grow as a writer
  5. And of course, submitting your work, or publishing it yourself!

Of course, I have a guide to help you get started on figuring out what you want, why you want it, and the steps you need to take to get there. 

Only you know your life’s circumstances. Is writing a hobby for you, or is it more than a hobby for you? If it is more than a hobby, what is one small step you can take in April, that will get you closer to your end goal?

Until next time…

Happy Writing!

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