Monday, February 06, 2006

Can Writing Be A Hobby?

Writing can be a hobby if you want it to be. Many people approach writing as a craft and business that will lead them to becoming published authors. While that is true for many people, writing also can be a hobby.

To get started with a writing hobby, you should get a book or file where you can write. All you will do with this notebook or journal will be to write. If you are going to have a writing hobby, then it is important that you have a place to keep your writings so that you do not lose them. You also will enjoy tracking your writing thoughts as you go along. Later you can return to your writing from certain periods in your life, and you will find that often the writing mirrors what was happening elsewhere in your life.

It also is vital to have quality writing implements. While it may seem silly, think of the pen or pencil you will use as the brush that an artist strokes across a canvas. A good pen or pencil will be a benefit as you are writing, especially if you are writing for long periods of time. You do not want to be focused on how much holding the pen hurts your hand. Be sure to try out the pen if possible before you buy it.

Once you are ready materials-wise, all there is to do is start writing. Ah, if only it were that easy! You will need to try out different scenarios while you are writing. It is generally good advice not to couple bad habits, such as smoking or drinking, with your writing although many established writers do it. There are two basic reasons. First, and more important, is that if you use smoking cigarettes as a crutch when you are writing, you always will feel the need to light up when you write. That means that it will be tough to quit. Also you may find yourself in a place where you cannot smoke, drink, write naked, or whatever eccentric desire you have. Then you will be stuck feeling unable to write.

Also try out different times of day for writing. I, personally, can tell a huge difference in my writing depending on the time of day I did it. Not only am I faster in the early mornings, but my mind is not yet cluttered with thoughts about my day. I can put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard, as it were) and get out some good writing in the mornings. Other people work best in the afternoons or even very late at night. Go with your biological clock as much as you can. Try out different times to see what works.

Writing is a solitary hobby, but that does not mean that you must always go it alone. You can join writers or critique groups. The basic difference is that many writers groups are more like coffee breaks for writers to decompress and talk about life. In critique groups, people share their writings and others in the group comment on it. These groups can be a great way to get insight into your own writing and also to help you make friends who share your hobby.

Another benefit of a writing hobby is that you can make it into a profitable hobby if you want. While the image of the starving artist is alive and well (and writers certainly are included in that group), many hobbyist writers sell pieces of their work here and there. They are not depending on this income. Instead it is about getting out their ideas and thoughts to others. You can research and learn how to parlay your own writing hobby into a part-time income if you enjoy it enough to put in the work for the business side of the craft.

Writing goes anywhere with you. Taking a notebook everywhere is one common trait among writers. Because you never know when the sometimes-elusive muse will strike, you must be prepared to write quickly and furiously anytime day or night. This obsession can be daunting, but the true writer understands it and acquiesces. For the writer, there is no other option.

By Julia Mercer

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