If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I recently got a fountain pen. I’ve been practicing calligraphy as a new and exciting hobby. Well, a new hobby, at least. I got this nice ink in a bunch of fancy colors and I’ve been writing out poetry.
I also crochet, knit, make fancy coffees and do makeup. For someone who’s as busy as I am, I have a lot of hobbies.
As we’ve discussed before, writing is not my hobby. It’s my passion, my purpose and my reason for living. But I am realistic. I understand that some people see writing as a hobby. They’re not good people, but they are around.
To make an argument for their side, though, one reason people have a hobby is to have a creative outlet. I already have a creative outlet. So, why then do I need one hobby, much less four? Because I don’t want to lose my damn mind, that’s why.
Here are four good reasons why I still have hobbies as a writer.
Writing is not relaxing, man. It’s work. It’s the best work, the most fulfilling work. But to sit down and craft a plot, give voice to characters and create a world is not relaxing. My hobbies, on the other hand, are super relaxing. When my brain is fried from writing, I can relax and write some calligraphy. If my day is over and I would like to unwind, I can crochet while I watch tv. If I need a day away from the writing, I can amuse myself making a macchiato at home.
Because I’m trying to make a living from my writing there’s pressure to be, you know, good at it. People look at my writing (theoretically) and judge it. I want my writing to be good, I need my writing to be good.
There’s pressure there, is what I’m saying.
When I’m doing calligraphy, there’s no pressure. Which is good, because I kind of suck at it. That doesn’t matter, I’m having fun! I’m not worried about whether critics will like it, or if my mother will read it and think it’s about her (it’s not). Or whether it will sell well. I can just enjoy the process from start to finish.
Learning new things is good.
When I pick up a new hobby, there are new things to learn. And if you’ll remember, my word of the year is learn. I’m learning about different pen nibs and the different ways they write. I’m learning about the care of pens, and how I should properly clean them. I’m learning to take my time and write nicely. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you how important learning new things is to your brain. Especially if you’re in your thirties, like me.
Everything feeds your art anyway
I’m writing out poems to practice my calligraphy. That means that I’m not just reading the poetry, I’m kind of absorbing it. I’m focusing on every single word, as I write them down slowly. I can see how all the words fit together to make the poem work. I’m studying poetry from Maya Angelou, Robert Frost, Bill Waterson, Langston Hughes, Emily Dickenson and Rudyard Kipling. These are the masters of their field, and I’m just soaking in the mechanics of their poetry. If you’ve been around for a while, you know that I consider myself a poor poet. I give it a good shot every April and post some of my shitty poetry. This year, I feel like I might have some decent poetry to share with you, after studying at the feet of these masters.
It’s just fun.
I have fun with all of my hobbies. I love playing with makeup, making coffee, crocheting a blanket and writing out calligraphy. I really enjoy doing these things. When I do them, I’m happy. Writing also makes me happy, of course, it does. But when I cannot write anymore, or if I need a break from the writing, then I have other things to do with my time that also make me happy.
Here’s an actionable item for you today. Get a hobby. Find something that you enjoy doing that puts no pressure on you. Now do it for a little bit of time every day. See how much better you feel, after doing something fun that’s just for you.