More Than A Hobby

My mother is a wonderful artist. She paints in acryllics and oils and I think she is just brilliantly talented. Over the years she’s produced many, many beautiful things. She’s sold a lot of her work, but she’s never really broken out and made her painting more than a hobby. She’s never taken her art to the next level.

There are a lot of reasons for that, the primary one being that she really didn’t WANT her painting to be more than a hobby. That’s absolutely fine with me. If she’s happy, I’m happy.

But as I try to take my writing to the next step, I’m trying to figure out what really made the difference. What made my mother a comfortable hobbyist and not someone striving for more? If she wanted to take her painting to the next level, what changes in habits and attitudes would she need to have made?

One big thing I’ve noticed is consistency. My mother never paints unless she feels like it. She can go weeks, months, or even years without lifting a paintbrush. She might produce other artistic-type things during those dry spells, but she’s not producing paintings. She’s not really practicing her art.

And because she never paints unless she feels like painting, she’s never really learned how to produce regardless of her feelings or her life circumstances.

I think that’s fine for a hobbyist. What’s the point of a hobby if you aren’t in the mood for it? But it seems to me that if you want to take your hobby to the next level then you need to do it whether you’re in the mood or not.

In the same way that you go to work whether you feel like it or not, you need to practice your art – whatever that art may be – whether you feel like it or not. If you don’t go to work because you don’t feel like it, you eventually lose your job. If you don’t practice your art because you don’t feel like it, you eventually lose your art. And every time you lose it, every time you step out of the stream of consistent practice, it takes longer to get the juices flowing again.

Believe me. I know.

So, I’ve decided that I will touch my writing every day, whether I feel like it or not. I set a ridiculously low word-count goal for myself because the important thing at this point is not volume but consistency. I’ve been practicing this for the last two months. No matter how I feel, no matter what kind of day I’ve had, no matter what I’m worried about, I touch my writing.

I’ve been finding that it’s working. Most days I write far more than my ridiculously low word count goal. Touching the WIP every day has kept it in the forefront of my mind and its kept the juices flowing. I highly recommend it.

Besides, if you can be consistent over the holidays, I figure you’re golden. 😀



  1. You really should put your blogs in an ebook. Another winner, my friend….and so true. I would have to add confidence to what you wrote. Who cares what others might think about what you might write…just do it…even if it is for yourself. I learned that with the camera several years ago.

    • Betsy Horvath says

      @Laryn: Thanks! And I agree about confidence. If you want to take your creative pursuit beyond hobby, you have to be confident in yourself. When it’s a hobby, it’s more private. If you try to make it a profession, it becomes much more public.

  2. For me taking my art from hobby to business ( which I did try at one point) took all the fun out of it for me. I love being creative. Like your mother when it hit me, but knowing I had to create made it less than enjoyable. Not to mention creating someone else idea ( commissions) was no fun for me either LOL. So I went back to creating when I feel like it and when someone asks me to purchase I am happy to sell it to them.

    We will see how I feel about writing when I get to that point 🙂 currently it’s all in the future.

    • Betsy Horvath says

      @Doris: I hope I didn’t come off as seeming to say that whatever you’re doing HAS to be different than a hobby, because I don’t feel that way at all. I was just looking at what she does and thinking – well, if I want to take my creative pursuit – writing – to the next level, what should I do differently? I totally agree that making whatever you do a profession can take the joy out of it, and that’s what I’ve been wrestling with myself. Mom got very jaded with her painting when she started having to produce it for craft sales. I think that’s part of the problem – how do you retain the pure joy of doing something for your own enjoyment and at the same time make it a more formal thing.

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