5 Signs Your Hobby Needs the Spotlight

You paint on the weekends. You doodle at work. You write random bits of dialogue while riding the bus. You share your daydreams over a beer with your friends. We all have little things we do in our spare time that help us unwind and relax, or perhaps it’s that kind of hobby that energizes you. After an hour or two, you go back to the demands of the “real world.”

Here’s my question: is your hobby waiting to get on stage?

It’s hard to make the transition from hobbyist to professional. It’s scary and intimidating, and it places demands on a pastime that usually helps you escape pressure. But there’s no denying that some of us relish that pressure and want our crafts and talents to expand beyond our personal enjoyment. We want to share it, and we want to nourish it, and watch it grow. How do you know when it’s time to take your hobby-relationship to the next level?

  1. You can’t stop thinking about it.
    Much like having a crush on a person, your hobby stays on your brain even when you’re doing something else. It’s an intrinsic part of your thoughts, something that never lets go. Let’s be real: if it crosses the line between “hobby” to “obsession”, then it’s begging for more than the occasional get-together.
  2. You want to get better.
    After a certain point, you actually want to hone your craft. Doing it “just because” isn’t good enough anymore, and you actually want it to improve. I’m not saying hobbyists don’t care, but the same pressure to meet a certain standard isn’t there. If you’re striving for excellence, then surely there’s more to it than just “fun.”
  3. You want to share it with others.
    I still have certain hobbies I don’t generally share, such as music composition. But drawing and writing are two things I can’t contain, not without feeling like I’m suffocating a part of myself. Sharing my work with others was certainly scary at first, but ultimately, an audience gives an ear to an artist’s voice. Without that, we’re only whispering to ourselves.
  4. You want others to take it seriously.
    What I really mean by this is “You want others to respect you as a craftsman.” This means not giving your time and effort away for free, or working for less than you’re worth. With a hobby, it’s no big deal to donate your talent, but if you’re starting to take your hobby more seriously, then you’ll want others to do the same. (This means getting paid, and getting paid well.)
  5. You’re willing to work a day job to pay for it.
    Surprise! You thought the last step would be about quitting your day job and doing your hobby full-time, didn’t you? WELL NOPE. The real test is whether or not you’re willing to support your hobby with a job you don’t necessarily enjoy. Sure, some jobs are more soul-sucking than others. But if you think your favorite hobby won’t have dream-crushing lows, then you aren’t facing reality. The reality is this: your hobby needs you alive and well, and if a day job makes that possible, then you’ve got to be willing to make that sacrifice.

Don’t get me wrong: I think hobbies are super important! I’m not saying you need to capitalize on everything you love. But if there’s something that’s tugging at your heart, begging for more attention, maybe it’s time to give that something a chance to shine. Maybe you’ll find that novel, that painting, that blog, whatever. Give your hobby a chance to grow and let yourself be surprised.

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Watch Your Language: the Consequences of Self-Talk

We all know how motivating (or crushing) a few words from a friend can be. A simple compliment or criticism can make or break your day. But do we realize how often we dish out these comments to ourselves?

Most artists (especially the budding, newer types) struggle with insecurity about their work. We compare it to more professional work from more experienced individuals, and we tend to highlight our own failings. It’s a hard thing to avoid, and it quickly becomes a natural train of thought: I’m not that good… I won’t ever be that good… I’ll never be good enough. Continue reading “Watch Your Language: the Consequences of Self-Talk”

Don’t Dismiss Progress

Tell me if this scenario sounds familiar: you spend some time making something (a drawing, a story chapter, a poem) and you feel pretty good about it. But then you see someone else’s work and you suddenly realize that your work just isn’t good enough. It doesn’t compete. A feeling of inadequacy washes over you, and you’re not sure you know why you got into this craft anyway.

(Sorry if that stressed you out.)

We all know we’re not supposed to compare our work with the work of more experienced artists. That’s pretty much just asking to demotivate yourself, so y u do that. We do it anyway, of course. But do you know what the worst part of it is? We’re dismissing all of the progress we’ve made. We look at the finished result, and we forget about the hours and effort that went into it, all because it’s not “enough.”  Continue reading “Don’t Dismiss Progress”

Inspirational Wasteland

There are moments in life when pursuing creativity is easy. I feel inspired! I have all the right tools! I have the time I need! I’m so excited to sit down (or stand up) and CREATE! Those a golden moments that all creatives look forward to. It’s easy to create work in these moments, because we feel like there are no barriers between us and our clearly-visible goal. It’s like road-tripping with your GPS: you know how to get to your fun destination, and you even know how long it will take.

What all creatives quickly discover is that there is no GPS for most projects. There are no quick rides or shortcuts. After the initial burst of motivation, we’re left staring at the vast stretch of just do the work. I’ll be honest: that’s the part that I dread. There’s just so much, and the end seems to be totally out of sight. After I run out of that first explosion of energy, I generally fall flat on my face and wonder how I’ll ever get moving again. It really feels like I tossed myself into a massive wasteland, empty of any clear paths or signs. How do you navigate such a dried up void?  Continue reading “Inspirational Wasteland”

Don’t Put Up Your Open Sign First

Taking little steps has never been a strength of mine. I’m a brainstorming, big picture, grand scheme type of gal. I prefer to immediately leap into action rather than plan or inch forward. When I approach a new project, I love developing the brand and marketing approach… actually developing content behind the scenes? Much less glamorous. Not enough of the ol’ razzle dazzle.

Continue reading “Don’t Put Up Your Open Sign First”

Fear of Being Found Out

Many artists seem to have this deep fear of being “found out.” We’re afraid that the people around us only admire us because they don’t know the truth. It’s as if we’ve managed to fool everyone into believing we’re great… when in reality, we know we’re no good. Or in another sense: we think our successes are flukes, while our failures are the norm. And we’re afraid other people are going to figure that out. Continue reading “Fear of Being Found Out”