Do you write because you want to, because you have to, or both? Did you know there are plenty of benefits to just writing as a hobby? Here are a few of the big ones.
Learning discipline and how to set goals
Those who write because it’s their hobby, and not because it’s their job, have a huge advantage. Writing practice is just as important as practicing a sport or instrument. This is why all writers who want to make writing a career should start out writing as a hobby. It allows you to practice how to set your own deadlines, stick to a schedule, set goals for yourself and stay on task even when you do not want to continue writing. These are all great skills to develop, whether you eventually want to try writing professionally or not. Take advantage of the opportunities regardless.
The disadvantage: When someone else isn’t telling you that you need to write, it can be hard to visualize that you are actually making progress and refining your skills when you are the one holding yourself accountable for everything. This is why goal setting as an aspiring writer is so important. Here are a few tips on how to set SMART writing goals.
When writing is just a hobby, and not a career, a lot of the pressure often associated with writing professionally goes away. Most of the time, there are no deadlines, and even if there are, you can usually be the one to set them for yourself. Writing becomes less about polish and perfection and more about telling a good story, even while writing nonfiction. Writing isn’t necessarily easier or less stressful itself, but the process is.
The disadvantage: Sometimes, having that pressure there to keep you moving forward – good old-fashioned eustress – helps prolong motivation and makes you more productive over time. Without it, you might be more likely to give into excuses and might not write as often. Here’s how to meet writing goals that have nothing to do with writing as a career.
Freedom to experiment
I am working on a novella right now that is structured very different from the previous five I have written this year. I am both nervous and excited about how it is going to turn out. I haven’t ever done anything like this before. Yet I am not sure I would have felt confident enough to try this new format if I hadn’t been working alone, with no planned monetary compensation. When you’re writing on your own – theoretically just for you, many times for others – it’s a little easier to try new things with your stories, which you may be able to apply to more ‘serious’ projects later on.
If you are already writing professionally, keep a few things in mind:
- It’s always beneficial to have a personal side project you’re working on just for fun. Writing may be your job during the day, but you need to allow yourself to create freely on your own time as well.
- Never feel like ‘not writing enough’ outside of work means you are failing. Some weeks you will be able to swing it, and some weeks you just won’t. Part of balancing writing as a job and as a hobby is fitting in personal writing time when it’s feasible.
There is NOTHING wrong with only writing because you love it! Writing as a hobby has plenty of benefits, whether you want to take things a step further at some point or not. Regardless, always remember to enjoy writing those words. It is possible to write professionally and still have a good time doing it, too.
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and an eight-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.