Are you a hobbyist?

Recently I was asked a question I get asked a LOT. Said question was:

How do I reply to my significant other when they say, “Why do you bother putting so much time into writing, when it’s just a hobby?”

unsupporting significant other.

Hoo boy. How do I unpack that? Let me count the ways.

First and foremost, shame on your significant other for not supporting you in your quest to do what you love. And that should be the end of the argument. Your loved ones should support you in such endeavors. You’re not hurting anyone, you’re not doing anything illegal or nefarious. In fact, what you’re trying to do is improve yourself and your quality of life.

Make sure to watch the video that inspired this post.

Writing is an art, a creative art. And those who feel the beckon call to create know, full-well, that call will forever refuse to be ignored or silenced. To that end, you must answer it (otherwise your soul could shrivel up and die).

Beyond the lack of suppor from your significant other, you have to ask yourself this question:

How many “hobbies” have turned into careers?

The answer to that question? Too many to count.

The truth is, every artistic career began as a hobby. Someone, at a young age, decided they enjoyed doing X. Said someone continued doing X and, as they aged, they improved their ability to do X. By the time they grew into adulthood, X was not just a hobby, but a craft they could easily turn into a career.

Do you think Mozart (the greatest composer to have ever existed) began his career at the age of 9? No. Although he was writing incredible music at such an early age, at that point it was a hobby. And thank goodness herr Mozart’s parents didn’t say, “No, meine liebling, you must set aside the foolish notion that this hobby of music could be a career. Be a banker or a priest.”

Imagine a world where Mozart was never encouraged to write music?

No thank you.

What do you say?

So what do you say, when someone you love intimates that you should give up?



And if they don’t get it at that point, you remind them that without the means to express yourself creatively (whether or not it turns into a viable career), you would be absolutely no fun to be around.

Thing is, it takes work. A LOT of work. No matter what those around you say, you need to give the craft of writing years before you might see any returns. And even then, those returns might well be slim. This isn’t something you do to be rich. You become an artist (no matter the medium) because you HAVE to. And if you don’t have the drive that insists you create, then either abandon it, or accept that it will always be a hobby.

And there’s not one damn thing wrong with that.

There are millions of actors on the planet who know acting will never be a career for them. And yet they continue doing it (on the community theater level) simply because they must. There’s honor in that, and don’t ever let anyone make you feel negatively about it.

In the end, you must be honest with yourself on every conceivable level:

  • Are you doing this because you have to?
  • Are you in this for the long haul?
  • Are you okay with the idea that you will probably never get rich as a writer (or actor, or painter, or musician, or dancer, etc.)?
  • Are you good with constant negativity from others and fighting back impostor syndrome?
  • Are you willing to make sacrifices and fight like hell to turn this hobby into a career?

Answer the above questions with as much honesty as you can. Once you’ve pondered those questions enough, you’ll probably have everything you need to counter the arguments posed by your significant other.

Know this: Being a writer isn’t glamorous. Hell, it’s not even always fun. Sometimes it’s a slog. But in the end, if you know (to your core) that you can’t NOT do this, then you have your answer.