This weekend I made pickles. I love pickles and decided that it might be fun to make some. Besides, there's a restaurant in Boston that has the BEST pickles and I wanted to try and replicate their recipe. This may sound gross, but it's SO good - the pickles actually taste like cinnamon. I can't even explain it. So my pickles are a variation on a recipe I found on the Internet with some cinnamon sticks thrown in for good measure. I can't wait to eat them!!
Which brings me to hobbies. When I decided to make the pickles I had to buy everything involved - the mason jars, the pickling salt, the vinegar and spices and even those darn cinnamon sticks. $40 later I was ready to make pickles. 8 pickles. That's $5 a pickle, so they better be good! It seems ridiculous to spend that on pickles. But people do crazier things for the hobbies they love. Like travel to writers' conferences and enter contests with contest fees and spend their free time attending critique groups.
I never viewed writing as a hobby. The day I started my first novel I also started researching agents. Three months later I had an agent and a month after that the book was finished and sold. Yet so many people think writing is a "hobby," like a quaint activity that we do between loads of laundry.
Does something cease to be a hobby once you get paid for it? If someone bought my pickles, would I be a professional pickle seller? I think that lots of writers who have never sold a book take writing seriously. They devote hours to their craft, they invest in conferences where they can learn more about the industry, they endure what can be a frustrating and demoralizing process. But they press on. Doesn't sound like a hobby to me!
I wonder how many published writers thought of writing as a hobby when they started. And how many started writing with the knowledge that they would get published. And that's what made the difference.
Did you start writing as a hobby, something you enjoyed but viewed as a "nice to do?" Or when you sat down to write was getting published your end game?