From Hobbyist to Professional
It’s been a long, long, long time since I’ve actually stopped and enjoyed the process of writing. It came to a point where I would put things ahead of writing time. I had to prepare for my promotion, then I had to train once I received the promotion, then I had school, then I had tests, etc. Those things do take priority, but even during downtime, when none of those things were even happening, I still found myself saying, “It’s okay, I’ll write tomorrow.” My hobby was beginning to feel like a job.
I became the one person I always blogged about, trying to avoid. I am the writer who talks about writing, but never actually does.
I miss the time when it was just all for fun, back when I could sit there and write for hours upon hours, much like how I used to read, another hobby which has met the same terrible fate as writing. Now, other things in life take so much precedence, I find everything to be tiring.
I am doing my best to get back to enjoying the things I love more than anything: writing and reading, but these things take work. Here is what I am doing to get back in the swing of things:
You have to become double-brained.
Unfortunately, this is the hardest thing to accomplish, and it certainly sounds that way. You have to separate the work brain from the writing brain. I’m sure for most people it’ll be more like triple-brained, or quadruple-brained, but, for the sake of brevity, double-brained is what I am calling it. The best way I have found to achieve this is to utilize every second of downtime to decompress. Leave a pause between each brain so you can start fresh. You need time to just turn off for a little while, and have a few moments to yourself with no distractions. This way, you won’t lose your precious downtime doing something unproductive, but rather just enjoying time with yourself.
If you can’t find downtime, don’t stop moving.
A quick disclaimer: I have a terrible social media addiction. I passively scroll through my news feed and subscription box. I’m not engaging with anything that is happening on my screen. Because of the media addiction, the only real way I’ve found to stay motivated is to “ride the high,” so to speak. If I finish something for work, I immediately move on to one of my personal projects. I “ride the high.”
Granted, I do occasionally burn out because I forget I need to stop, but keeping the productive fire alive is one of the best ways to find a renewed spark with your own work. Do what you have to at work or school in the best way you can, then carry that motivation home with you. Do your homework, then move right into your own project. If your hobby begins to feel like a job, treat it like part of your job.
You have to accept that being good at something requires hard work.
It’s just the way the world works. I want to be a serious author and in order to do that I have to work for it. I need to treat writing like a job. I have to get it done because it has to be done. Sometimes we have to think of things like they are work if we ever want to get better. Otherwise, my writing will always be “just a hobby.” Even if you don’t necessarily want your hobby to become your means of financial stability, you want to be good, right? Then you have to work for it. Some people have that natural, raw ability, but those are the exceptions. Not the rule.
It’s okay to slack off sometimes, but when you’re making excuses just to avoid doing what you love because your hobby is beginning to feel like a job, then you’re avoiding progress. There’s a reason it feels like too much work. If it’s not worth fighting for, then is it really worth doing at all?
Let me know, and comment below! Thanks for reading.