Replied to Adult Hobbies – Tracy Durnell (tracydurnell.com)
I have dabbled in hobbies over the years and have a hard time divorcing myself from a productivity mindset. Even if I enjoy an activity it’s hard to make myself do it.

As a kid I already hated the word ‘hobby’. Parents/adults always seemed to imply some put-down with that word. Also sentences like ‘why not pick a hobby’ seemed to me to flip means and goal, turning ‘having a hobby’ into a goal and having, finding, or worse coming up, with an interest into a means. I avoid the word hobby (like I avoid the notion of being ‘a fan’ of something for similar reasons). I have interests, some are more dormant currently, others lead to activity at the moment, and it shifts with time. I also found over the years that some of those interests will migrate from an activity in my own time towards paid work, and some to even being the center of work for an extended time. So I’ve come to see interests and activities as a pool from which future work may well spring. At the same time it does not need to be clear how that might happen, better not even, as having the interest is its own reward. Vice versa I am ok with treating any activity I care about as a professional activity (in terms of the tools and practices I bring to it), and that blurs the line between ‘private’ and ‘work’ even more than being self-employed already ensures. Basically it means that when I am not working it mostly looks the same as when I am working. There’s only no administrative follow-up like sending an invoice. It’s a bit like how Henriette and I worded it in a conversation a long time ago: I get up in the morning and go to sleep in the evening, and in between I do stuff.

2 reactions on “

  1. “I’ve come to see interests and activities as a pool from which future work may well spring. At the same time it does not need to be clear how that might happen, better not even, as having the interest is its own reward.” I really like this way of thinking about activities and interests! I think there may be some societal pressure to define our activities as work or casual by whether we make money off them, but money isn’t a great gauge of how seriously we treat an activity, or our level of skill. That serial killer code was just cracked by “hobbyists” who’d been working on it for more than ten years IIRC. I started a big project last year that technically I got a business license for but I’m more interested in other outcomes from it than money.
    I tend to think of my personal projects – fiction writing, that business, blogging, personal design projects – as “creative work” because I use the same skills as in my day job, but the projects are self assigned and chosen. From that perspective, when I think of hobbies outside of that, I think of activities that are less involved or one-offs – but as you point out, a lot of those could become larger ventures if given more energy and time. I like your flexibility in thinking about how activities can phase in and out of focus, level of effort, and whether or not they are compensated.

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