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?

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