Thursday, September 16, 2010

Why I Hate The Word "Hobby"

If you've been following my blog for a while now, you may know I have certain words that I absolutely despise, as many of us do. What you may not know, is "hobby" would be one of them.

Let's put aside that it's a hideously ugly word (Yes, I am not an equal-oppertunity wordsmith). Hobby is a casual word, it's what you do for fun, it's breezy, easy, beautiful, Cover Girl. I do not have hobbies. I have interests, passtimes, things I enjoy doing, but I do not have a hobby.

I become absolutely infuriated when people call my writing a hobby. Seriously, try it. My eyes will go red and lightning will shoot out of my fingertips. It's quite entertaining.

Writing is not a hobby for me. It's not even a passtime. It's a job. I may not be published yet, I may not be making any money from these manuscripts that I'm pumping out, but this is my profession. I am a writer. When my friends or family want to go out and I have a date with my protagonist, I say "Can't, I'm working." It took a while, but the people around me started to realize that means I'm writing.

This is why I don't understand writers who call their writing a "hobby."

I understand that for some it is. Just like for some making short films is a hobby, or video editing is a hobby. It's not something they want to pursue a career in, it's just something they do for fun.

Which is fine. But, if you're reading this blog, I'm going to assume you're either my mother or you're a writer trying to get published (or maybe you're already published. Whatever.) If you're my mother, you need to stop stalking me. If you're a writer seeking publication, then writing is not a hobby for you.

That may seem a bit harsh, but let's face facts. If you are trying to publish a book, you are probably going to publish more than one (If not, self-publish. All the bragging rights, none of the rejection.) Which means that you probably want to set yourself up as a writer and keep writing for as long as you can. Which means you're trying to build a career. Get my drift? A hobby is not a career.

You would never hear Steven Speildberg say, "Oh yeah, making movies is a hobby of mine." So why are writers who want to be published saying that what they do is a hobby?

"Oh Katie, I will be an author someday. But right now I haven't found an agent/editor and I haven't seen publication, so it's still a hobby."


Let me repeat that:


All those crappy books that you've shelved? All that hard work? If you intend to see publication, then those pieces are you building your portfolio. You're perfecting your craft, you're working on becoming a better writer so that when you do see publication, you won't be humiliated and wonder "God, why did I write that?"

Why should it matter? What's a word anyway?

I'm a firm believer in definitive thinking. People who say "I'll try to become a published writer" will NEVER see publication, because a) the drive isn't there, and if it isn't b) the confidence is not there. You need to have that confidence if you want to get anywhere.

It's just like setting a goal. If you sit down and say, "This week, I will do this and this and this" you are more likely to complete your to-do list. However, if you just do it with the thought of, "I'll just get as much done as I can" you won't be as productive.

If you want writing to be a hobby for you, great, make it a hobby. But if you're serious about your craft, if you want to see publication, it's work.

Treat your writing professionally, and you will recieve professional results. Treat is like a hobby and well... you get what you put in.



1 comment:

  1. Agreed. Hobby implies deference to something more important, and this jazz comes second to none. :D