A Hobby for Hobby’s Sake

This story originally appeared on the Gents Cafe Newsletter. You can subscribe here.

A strange thing happens when you begin to get paid for your talent, your relationship changes with it. Writing was once a hobby of mine, a craft I had perfected over years. Now that I’m paid to write, I treat it like another job. What people don’t tell you is that much of writing is emailing, invoicing, and thinking of what to write.

I live as a multihyphenate now. My days vacillate between articles, short stories, a full-time job in the pen industry, and being a small-time farmer. Days off are rare. I usually pull an 11-hour day. So when writing stopped being fun (in the carefree sense of the word), I needed something else.

Two weeks ago, I began to try my hand at watercolors. I grabbed a set from the dollar store and drew hearts in red paint. I then drew a croissant. Then a field of poppies. Small things in pencil and then filled in with color. Nothing spectacular, but I liked not being hunched in front of my computer screen or thinking about the next deadline approaching. Twenty minutes would pass and I would have a tangible product. I remember how it felt in kindergarten. Too bad my mother isn’t here to hang it up on the fridge.

Now, I can’t get enough of it. I’m addicted to the process, the small time I allow myself to just do something. I’m learning I don’t need to always be working, that sometimes I can just have fun. I’m the first to admit I’m not very good and I say that with a bit of pride. I don’t want to be good. I just want to have fun.

Today in a world so much smaller thanks to social media, our talents can so easily be commodified and there is so much pressure to be perfect. But when do we just do things for ourselves? When do we explore things to try them out and fail spectacularly?

I forgot how much fun that can be.

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