Writing as a hobby is often overlooked in favour of those (allegedly) sexier and more fashionable pastimes which come and go as frequently as lockdowns – there’s a simile for our modern times. Cross stitch, banana bread baking, jigsaws, the evergreen computer gaming – all of these are commendable hobbies and I’m not here to dictate how you to choose to spend your valuable free time. Do what brings you joy! But my point is that writing rarely finds its way onto these lists.
However, I am here with a delightful writing form of inception to share why writing IS a wonderful hobby, whilst also writing as a hobby.
Here we go…
It requires almost nothing to get started
Got a pen and paper? You’re ready to go. A fancy, brand new laptop? Great, open up the word processor. The notes app on your phone? Go, go, go! A dry pavement and a watering can? How artful.
Writing doesn’t need anything special (although very little can beat the feeling of a fresh, empty notebook) and you don’t need to do any training – unless you want to, of course. For me, although I’m well aware that it is different for everyone, writing as a hobby means not worrying if it’s good or bad and not striving for improvement, though that happily comes the more you do it.
If you want a course to direct your mind as you write, there are many available and they often crop up on websites such as Groupon. I did one a few years ago and found it quite fun, although I ended up pressuring myself to finish it.
It opens you up to yourself
Although this is definitely true when journaling, I find that any type of writing does this. Write for long enough, and you’ll find something of yourself. Writing a diary, where you slow down your thoughts and take the time to lay each of them gently on a sheet of paper, forces you to take the time to consider how you feel. It doesn’t matter if you store your diaries for the rest of your life or burn the paper as soon as it’s written. The process is what is important, not the finished product.
It resonates with other people
If you choose to share your writing (and you certainly don’t have to, it is just as valuable either way), there is the inevitability that someone out there in the world will stumble across your words and feel that you have managed to scribe their exact thoughts and feelings.
You know that thing where you read something and think ‘huh! I thought I was the only one…’, or that thing where you read a sentence and it just…sticks. It almost becomes a mantra, because it feels so you? Your writing can do that too. It’s not about likes or shares or anything like that – it’s about the magic of human connection.
Perfection is not only unnecessary, it’s impossible
There is absolutely no book, or poem, or letter, that everyone on this earth likes. Trying to write one that everyone does is completely futile. The key, in my opinion, to successful writing as a hobby (and by successful, I mean that it becomes a hobby that sticks) is dropping all expectation and just letting it take you where it takes you.
As soon as you stop striving for perfection, your output will be greater and your enjoyment will be higher. And – curiously – you’ll also probably find that your writing is better.
It can be anything you want it to be
If you want to write a novel, great. If you don’t, also great. If you want all of the spelling and grammar to be spot on, great. If you want to just let it flow and forget about full stops and stressing about spelling, also great.
If you struggle to get started, try checking out my blog post on Writing – How to Start and How Not to Stop
What do you love about writing? Let me know in the comments.