Hobbies & The Importance of Doing Things for No Reason
As I grow older, I'm realising the importance of hobbies. I just read this article about woman whose therapist scolded her for not setting aside any relaxation time for herself, so she took up sewing, with mixed results. If I had a therapist (Which I probably should, to be honest) he or she would probably have said the same thing to me. For years my time spent away from work consisted of watching TV, wandering around shops and eating.
I mean, that's not to say I haven't tried. This year I wrote a novel. A whole book - over 70 thousand words - from start to finish in around four months. I edited three drafts. It's terrible. Like, plot-holes-so-big-they-could-swallow-the-solar-system terrible. I even sent it to some agents, with (unsurprisingly) no success. That's when I gave up. Well, got bored I suppose. It's still there, printed out on thousands of sheets of paper in a nice ring binder under my coffee table, waiting for that one last attempt to make it brilliant. One for my new year's resolutions list, perhaps?
My problem was that I just couldn't get away from the mindset that I need to be the best at something, or make some money out of it, otherwise what's the point? I don't know where this bizarre thought process came from, but it sucks, and I'm slowly learning to discard it.
I wrote in my last post about how one morning I started drawing again, after a hiatus of many years.
For reasons I am unsure of, that morning I decided to draw a cartoon triceratops. My boyfriend was in New York at the time, and whilst drawing we were engaged in a game of chess via our phones. I beat him, so I added a speech bubble to my small, green dinosaur and sent him a photo:
His wonderfully joyful and surprised reaction, both at the drawing and the fact that I could draw (which I'd never mentioned) was enough to make me want to spend the rest of the day doodling cartoons, for no other reason than to share them with him and read his reactions from half-way across the planet.
Over the last few weeks I have subsequently drawn, sketched and painted an eclectic mix of cats, people, biscuits, houses, more dinosaurs, flowers, my own feet, a koala, and Neelix from Star Trek Voyager. I also drew a comic, which made one person laugh at least.
I keep most of these drawings to myself, happy in the knowledge that I have created something for no other reason than my own amusement.
Writing a novel was fun too, but I put a lot of pressure on myself to write a thousand words every day and to have it finished by a particular time. A completely arbitrary set of rules and deadlines which served no purpose other than to turn an enjoyable hobby into what, at times, felt like work.
Having said that, if I thought for a second that anyone would want to pay me for my drawings then I'd quit my day job tomorrow, but right now I'm just happy that I am doing something for myself, with no particular aim, goal or financial reward.
And, for now, my novel can remain under my coffee table, unread and unpublished. It's enough for me to know simply that I did it and that those four intense months were happy ones, even if my initial goal is never achieved.