Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Do Writers Have Hobbies?

I think in the beginning writing is a hobby-don't smack me. We usually start off thinking , "I have an idea for a book. I wonder if I can write it." We play around with our stories never intending for anyone to read them. Some may never go farther, but others will get the notion that perhaps they can become published. Suddenly the little hobby becomes serious work. There is craft to learn. Rough drafts, revisions, critiques, more revisions and learning about querying and actually sending out the work. Then there are more revisions and so on and so forth. After years deep in the trenches of writing- published or not- you stick your head up and wonder, "Do I have any hobbies?" or maybe you think, "Who has time for hobbies?"
The answer to that is you need hobbies and you must find time for hobbies. Why? Hobbies can lead to book ideas. For example my hobby of baking gluten-free lead to my gluten-free bakery mystery series. Another writer I know began to make her own soaps and this helped round out her historical romances.
The point being that yes, we are always told, get your butt in your chair and write. But without doing more than that the writing falls flat. The hobby you choose doesn't matter. It could be fixing scales, hiking, photography, playing in a small town band, weaving, painting, gardening. Anything to get you out of the story doing something where you have permission to do it badly. I mean, it's a hobby, right? So who cares if the scarf you attempted to knit turns out to be a pot holder? Hobbies free up the creative mind. They allow you to relax and let your muse in without the pressure of performance.
Give yourself permission to add a new hobby to your life and I am betting you will find that your writing is better for it.
If you could do anything, what hobby would you take up? I'm off to make triple berry jam. Cheers~


Joelle Charbonneau said...

They always say that you should write what you know. Well, if you don't have any hobbies, that kind of falls flat. I totally agree. A rounded out life leads to great story ideas. But you still have to eventually put your butt in the seat and get cracking!

Linda Kage said...

You're right; I do come up with cooler ideas when I'm away from the computer.

Is spending time with your kid a hobby? I came up with a fun story idea after walking with her to the mailbox one Saturday morning after a huge bird (bigger than her) started circling above her like it was scouting around for some breakfast.

Nancy J. Parra said...

Hi Joelle, thanks for stopping by- yes, butt in chair gets the work done, but hobbies help feed the muse. Cheers~

Nancy J. Parra said...

Hi Linda, yes, spending time with kids does count as a hobby- it's distracting and fun. Kids come up with the coolest ideas and pay attention to the world in ways you never would without them. Cheers~