Friday, August 26, 2011

Writing - A job or a hobby?

Hobby: leisure activity or pastime engaged in for interest or recreation.

Job:to carry on public business for private gain/remuneration

I once posed the question at a creative writing workshop.

Should writing be considered a hobby or a job?

The response was unequivocal.
There is no chance that writing can be a hobby.
To achieve anything worthwhile, writing must be treated with the same discipline as a job.

What then for those who (a) want to achieve something worthwhile, but who can't ascribe the word 'job' to writing, because what we produce doesn't pay enough, and/or we don't give it enough priority or time to call it our 'job'
and (b) want to have a hobby that engages, relaxes and transports us away from the humdrum of our daily lives?

What category do those of us in that twilight zone fall?

Maybe the answer is that for some of us, writing is both a hobby and a job. Writing does not produce enough to feed my family but yet it's something I treat, as much as possible, as a muscle that must be exercised. It might not be truly relaxing enough to be termed a hobby and not profitable enough to be termed a job, but it is something I keep going back to, no matter what.

It occurs to me that because merged words are everywhere these days from "Sceptimist" - a sceptic and optimist, to "Jeggings" - jeans and leggings (or even "Jedward" - John and Edward Grimes)that "Jobby" might fit as a word to describe those of us in the twilight zone.

Is writing your hobby or your job?


Susannah said...

Hmmm, that is a good question. To me it is neither, though I am struggling to say what exactly it is! I shall have to let myself ruminate on that one (it is late here) and if I come up with an answer, I shall come back and let you know!

Whatever, it is a thought provoking post Mari. :-)

Debbie said...

That's so strange, Mari, I've been wondering similar things about writing (so forgive any overlap in my blog this week!) I mean, anyone can squiggle funny shapes on a page - but squiggling the right ones, now that's a different story. Keep up your wonderful jobbying. Debbie

Brigid O'Connor said...

An interesting point, Mari. I think for most aspiring writers, it is a passion and I think a lot of writers would love to earn a living from it. I think the successful writers have talent but also a desire to succeed.

Mari G said...

Susannah - it is one to ruminate on, for me anyway. Do come back and let me know what you think!

Debbie: Am looking forward to reading the blog overlap... Also, as a published author, it is more than likely a real job for you, methinks.

Brigid: The thing is the passion, I agree. I'm struggling so much to push the words out that I've been asking myself -is this work or play?

Niamh said...

great word - jobby :)

It doesnt feel like a job and feels to importent to be called a hobby, a vocation maybe? Or obsession?!

Though I always say 'I'm working' when I'm writing, (unpaid, and at kitchen table of course!) just get it across to my kids that its something serious that needs to be given respect and space.

Mari G said...

Thanks Niamh, glad you like 'jobby'

It's that aspect of needing to get down to it, the requirement for respect and space, as you say, that does lift writing above an ordinary 'hobby'

anonymous said...

keep it up

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