What’s Your Pet Interest?

What is your hobby? Every woman ought to have some pet interest in life, outside of the everyday routine which composes her regular occupations. What is yours?

—-The Mother’s Magazine, January 1915

Okay, so the quote from The Mother’s Magazine did make me giggle. Luckily it was written nearly one hundred years ago and not last week. I guess even back then they realized that expressing ourselves creatively was essential, and something we all need. Of course today, this same sentence would replace “woman” with “everyone,” but that’s an entirely different post.

Sarah Ban Breathnach, in her book, Simple Abundance, says that a hobby is a great way to start freeing ourselves creatively because no one expects us to be perfect at a hobby. I suppose in many ways she’s right.

But even so, it seems to me that, most of us who do have hobbies often work quite diligently to perfect them. Card making, quilting, scrapbooking—- we’re always looking for a new design or a more complicated pattern to try. We push ourselves to higher heights. How many times can we make the same craft, in exactly the same way, before we long to create something with a little more pizzazz, a little more complexity, a little less humdrum?

When I first started writing I did look at it as a hobby. I began with nothing more than a desire to express myself with the written word. I wasn’t at all sure what I was doing or even what I wanted to write. I had no one to guide me or to answer my questions, but I didn’t let that stop me. Back then I wasn’t even aware that a writing community existed. I just wrote.

Some writers start out with the idea that their writing is better than it actually is. I’ve known people who sat down, wrote a first draft of a story and thought they were finished because they came to the end. The idea of smoothing out the bumps and adding a finishing coat never once occurred to them. They liked what they wrote– why would they want to change it? Might I mention, these same people are not published today, and some of them don’t understand why. They blame the publishers– an obvious choice. After all the publishers are the ones who have the power to publish—or not. I would consider these people hobbyists. If they aren’t willing to rewrite and revise until the words flow in perfect rhythm then how can they expect to ever be published?

But does this apply only to writing? Or does it mean that those of us who work to perfect any craft should no loner consider it a hobby?

Writing, like any craft, takes time to perfect. (That’s if the term perfection exists.) Yes, I’ve had many published works, even a YA novel, but I still feel that I have plenty to learn as a writer.  I hope that working at the sentences, polishing them, smoothing out the bumps is something that I never grow tired of, and I hope I never reach the point where I think I’ve learned all there is to learn about writing. I want to pick up each new word I find and weave it magically into my stories with a sense of wonder and delight for years to come. I not only want to write, I want to rewrite.

Over the years I’ve knitted, croqueted, and made various crafts. The only “hobby” that I stuck, the only one I never tired of, was writing. I suppose that alone should tell me something.

While some of my friends become excited over the newest gadget they have acquired for card making or scrapbooking I might become excited over a sentence or paragraph, one that has the proper rhythm, the exact number of words. I might discover some new insight that I hadn’t previously considered, a tiny bit of wisdom that sprouted from a seed somewhere inside me. There is always a fresh way to write a paragraph, or to catch a clever phrase on paper. (You know the ones— when you come back months later and think, ‘Did I really write that?’)

We all came to the planet to create something. Don’t try and convince me otherwise. Preparing the evening meal is a creation, (maybe not when I cook but still….) And lets not forget that even the creation of joy and laughter in the world is of great value. Make me laugh , make me smile. Brighten my day. Shouldn’t that be considered a worthwhile hobby?

May we hold our creations not only in hands, but in our hearts as well.

What is your “pet interest”? Do you have more than one? And do you believe that creativity is an essential part of our every day lives?

Advertisements
Previous Post
Leave a comment

31 Comments

  1. Loved the post as usual, Laura. I’m one of your biggest fans. I always appreciate your sincerity and warmth that shines through in your posts.

    I, too, have many “pet” interests (Along with seven pets. GROAN!). Funny quote. Just like housewives making a little pin money for a rainy day. Seems like such old fashioned ideas.

    I’ve tried many hobbies over the years like cake decorating, scrapbooking, digital photobook making, card and bookmark making and have all kinds of supplies for them. Haven’t done any in a while. Well, the occasional cake for an event but not like I used to do.

    I just took an acting class and loved it.

    I also love my flute playing and singing in a choir. All these things are good for nurturing the soul.

    Through it all, writing is the most consistent of my pet interests. Maybe I keep doing it because it helps me make sense of it all and keeps me grounded. And it’s fun to escape from this world of a 50 year old mom and be someone else, somewhere else in a world where I have control.

    Anyhow, sorry to ramble on about myself so much in my narcissistic (hope I spelled that right. Love that word even if it’s hard to spell!) fashion but your post resonated with me as it always does. Keep posting!

    Love Your Fan Cat

    Like

    Reply
    • Well golly gee Cat, you’re making me blush. But please don’t stop.Hehehe

      Seven pets..Wow! Do children and husbands count?

      You seem to be someone who has tried many things and, as you say, these are all things that provide good nourishing for the soul. I’ve dabbled with a few crafts and such over the years but once I rediscovered writing there was no turning back.

      Feel fee to discuss your narcissistic tendencies here any time. I enjoy hearing what other people have to say. If I didn’t I wouldn’t ask questions.. LOL!

      Like

      Reply
  2. Judi Hiltz

     /  July 3, 2010

    Well Laura, as you know I do have many hobbies. I can’t put it in as elegant words as you do, but I have taken many things apart because they didn’t suit me, or the lines weren’t straight, the thread was in the wrong place. I have most likely taken more things apart than I have finished. But once they are finished I like to think that I did the very best that I could.
    I am knitting a throw right now that I think I have unraveled more than I have knitted. (Of course, doing it while watching T.V. most likely doesn’t help).
    But your friend who makes cards, is a pro, and I wish I had some of her ideas running around in my head that she thinks up all the time. She is good…
    Also, I have just stamped a mat that I am going to hook. I am making one for each of my grandchildren. Just between you and me with card making, quilting, knitting, scrapbooking, tole painting and now hooking, I simply have no time for house work….LOL

    Like

    Reply
    • Yes Judi, you have more hobbies than the average person. I never know what you’ll be trying next. You are very adventuresome when it comes to the crafting department. But hey,don’t feel bad about unraveling your knitting if you knew how many times I rework a sentence to make it sound the way I want it to you wouldn’t think twice the next time you unravel a piece of knitting.

      “….with card making, quilting, knitting, scrapbooking, tole painting and now hooking, I simply have no time for house work sound much better to me than I have so much housework to do that I just don’t have time to be creative

      Like

      Reply
  3. The trick with having a “hobby” (for me) is having one that doesn’t make you feel that you should be writing instead. I like to knit and crochet, but I do it during the few must-watch TV shows that I have per week. And since these TV shows are ones I watch with my family, all is good. Family time, a little escape, a little more progress on a project. Sadly I can find lots of other things to distract me from the writing–and, Judi–the housework. Soon I’m going to have to name the dustbunnies!

    Like

    Reply
    • I agree, Heather, knitting in front of the television is a great way to be able to accomplish something creatively instead of simply sitting in front of the TV. I do this during the winter months, although I’m not a big lover of television.

      If you need any suggestions for naming the dustbunnies just give me a shout. I can probably help you out. Perhaps someday we shall release them into the wild where they belong, but for now we are giving them a good home with plenty of room to grow!!

      Like

      Reply
  4. So cute about naming the dustbunnies. Hey, we could start a Facebook club for Dustbunnies to meet. Whaddya think? 😉

    Like

    Reply
  5. C

     /  July 3, 2010

    I knit a bit in the winter. I write/blog. And I just bought a ukulele, which I hope to be able to say I “play” sometime soon. Also, I ballroom dance (swing, mostly).

    Yes, I think it’s very important to have creative outlets and activities that energize you. In has a spillover effect, and the rest of your life is better for it.

    Like

    Reply
    • Thanks for visiting my blog, Carolyn. Sounds as though you have many “pet interests” as well. Good luck with the ukulele. My son bought one a few years back but when he moved out it wasn’t one of the items he took with me.

      And ballroom dancing sounds so elegant! Creative outlets and activities certainly does help energize us!!

      Like

      Reply
  6. Torry

     /  July 3, 2010

    Yes I have many hobbies and as a friend said the other day ” a master of none”. At one time that really bothered me …now….I realize that mastery isn’t important. It’s the making the quilt my way or being creative with it. When I look at something I’ve done ,it should make me feel like I’ve acomplished

    Like

    Reply
    • Hey Torry. You are also one of my talented friends. Every time I see you you’re working on a new project. And you’re too hard on yourself. Your work is wonderful!

      Like

      Reply
  7. I dabble in many hobbies–cooking, gardening, jewelry making, collecting strange things, the odd finger painting . . and like that magazine of old (heh!) and the great comments to your post affirm, creative endeavors–regardless of how “good” your results are–help you fully appreciate and experience your life.

    I do tell people who prod me to start when I confess that I’d love to give painting or pottery or guitar a more serious go, that for now writing takes my official hobby spot, as in it’s something I don’t do for income, but I am addicted to and do want to achieve a high level of skill at . . . If I ever start publishing novels, I might look for another more “serious” hobby, but I also might not. I love to dabble. It makes me happy and is a lot of fun! And there’s value, I think, in doing a variety of things . . .

    p.s. Torry, yes, feel accomplished! Perhaps your friend was feeling a bit of jealousy that you allow yourself creative freedom. 🙂

    Like

    Reply
    • My goodness Ev, you never cease to amaze me!

      You’re right in that the results of our work does not have to be perfect by any means. The act of creating is so so important. If we created simply as a way of achieving perfection in our work then there would be no point to it because our perception of what that perfection would look like could be quite distorted.

      If you’re happy to “dabble” in many things then by all means. 🙂

      Like

      Reply
  8. I’m not sure if everyone has a need to be creative, but those that do seem to find more than one way to do it. I’ve tried all sorts of hobby-ish things through the years — pottery making, various kinds of needlework, macrame and tie-dying, cardmaking and scrapbooking — but only gardening, oil painting and writing really captured my fancy and kept me coming back to them. Over the long term I guess writing has become far more than a hobby since I’ve been doing it the longest. I admire those for whom useful skills like cooking and homemaking are a passion, but I’ve long since stopped feeling guilty because they aren’t mine. To each his own!

    Like

    Reply
    • Whether we have a need to be creative or not I think most of us are on some level. Perhaps it is something we are born with or else is there waiting for us when we pick up a crayon for the first time.

      It seems to me that those who are super creative try a variety of different “pet interests” instead of simply sticking to just one. And isn’t it wonderful that there are so many different things for us to try our hand at.

      Like

      Reply
    • I’m like you Carol, and am not passionate about cooking and homemaking. I’m still working through the guilt though. I’d much rather be writing and connecting with my writing friends any day! 😉

      Cathy

      Like

      Reply
  9. Well I enjoy writing of course, reading, drama (watching and acting), swimming (especially in the sea), and I love dancing. All these things are a joy. They transport me somewhere else, help me to relax and are in some way spiritual.

    Like

    Reply
    • Hi Eileen. Thank you for dropping in and for your comment. I only ever swam in the sea once when I was a teenager, which is unusual since Nova Scotia is surrounded by the sea. But I remember how desperately cold it was on the legs, a cold that seemed to cut through to the bone.

      You’re from Ireland and I love Ireland! Never been there but I’ve seen many beautiful photos and since some of my ancestors came from Ireland. 🙂

      Like

      Reply
  10. It took a long time before I stopped thinking of my writing as a hobby. But honestly, it’s been 27 years and I can’t remember the exact moment. Somewhere around the time I realized it was more of an obsession.

    Great post, Laura.

    Like

    Reply
    • Thanks Joylene,
      I’d say after 27 years it’s pretty safe to say that writing is definitely not simply a hobby, but a part of who you and what you do.

      Like

      Reply
  11. My hubby is always busy with his hobbies … and new ones keep adding to his list. He is extremely talented with his hands (woodworking, ironwork, painting, etc.) but also lives to experience the outdoors (hiking, biking, snowboarding, etc.). He’d really love to see me fall in love with a hobby, but I just don’t seem to be able to find one!

    The things I love to do aren’t usually considered hobbies: reading, watching movies, seeing a theatre show. He was very excited when I took a big interest in scrapbooking … and for years I was just loving it. But lately, the shine has worn off for me and it has started to feel like a chore (“oh, I need to get that album done”). One of the things I did enjoy most about scrapbooking is that it provided me with a creative outlet, without actually having to be particularly creative. But I think your post touched on my “problem” — I always want to be really good at it, whatever “it” is. And that kind of perfectionist outlook is really limiting. I’m working on it though ….

    Thanks for the great read!

    Like

    Reply
    • Hi Julie, Thanks for dropping in. There’s definitely something to be said for doing something just for the love of it and not expecting perfection. On the other hand you have small children and that doesn’t always leave us time to explore what all is out there. You also have a blog and I would consider a way of creatively expressing yourself.

      And from this writer’s perspective reading is a wonderful pass time!

      Like

      Reply
      • Yes, young children make my type of hobbies — reading, writing, theatre — hard to find time for. But luckily, hubby helps make that happen. And I really do enjoy the blog, so I agree … it is now officially my “hobby”! 🙂

        Like

        Reply
  12. What a wonderful and heartfelt post! I can relate to so much of what you write here. I have a few hobbies, among them yoga, photography, cooking, gardening, and so on. But none of them drive me in the same way that writing does. Well, yoga is close. I feel close to myself when I’m doing yoga or meditating. But writing, well, it’s a more complicated relationship, isn’t it? It’s not just mind, body, and soul harmonizing with the universe, though it’s that, too. I believe we are communicating important messages of wisdom to the world through our writing, that we are the mediums that inspire compassion and insight and love.

    Oh, and the revision. Yes, I revise and revise and revise. It’s work, good, honest work, and I’m always proud at the end of it, proud in a I-sure-worked-up-a-good-sweat sort of way :).

    Like

    Reply
    • ” I believe we are communicating important messages of wisdom to the world through our writing, that we are the mediums that inspire compassion and insight and love.”—I very much felt this while writing the character of Mama in my novel. So much of her wisdom simply came out onto the page without me having to think of it. I could simply feel the deeper meaning behind her words. I know it was likely missed by some readers, but others picked up on it quite quickly.

      Like

      Reply
  13. chezjlb

     /  July 19, 2010

    When I was younger I tried to get into crafty things like sewing and knitting. I quit sewing in my late teens when I sewed two wrong seams together, yanked the material out of the machine, and yelled that I’m never going to sew again. And I haven’t. Those craft projects are sooo stressful! At least with writing I can erase, delete, and revise to my heart’s content.

    Like

    Reply
    • When we find our heart’s desire we are no longer impatient. It’s a wonderful thing. I agree I’d much rather write. I have knitted an afghan a time or two in the recent past but it can’t hold a candle to writing.

      Like

      Reply
  14. Pam Chamberlain

     /  July 23, 2010

    Pottery, photography, sewing, gardening, woodworking…
    I’m not patient enough to achieve excellence at any of them! I like to be a jill-of-all-trades, knowing how to do a little of lots of things.

    Like

    Reply
    • Wow! That’s a lot of pet interests you have Pam and such a variety. I’m impressed because I can’t imagine how you do all that, edit, write, and you’re also a mom. Pretty impressive.

      Like

      Reply
  1. Writing Is Like Cooking | Write here, write now

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 237 other followers

  • Follow Laura Best on WordPress.com
  • My Novels

    Coming April 2017

  • Laura Best

  • Blog Stats

    • 75,143 hits
%d bloggers like this: