Hello! First off, this will be my last post for a while *cries* I know, I know, I will miss you badass people too. But, seeing as I’m going off to focus on some work projects that are picking up, I thought I’d write about something that’s been on my mind lately: guilt about spending time on things that don’t make me money.
As a creative, the lines between work and hobbies often start to blur. Since I’m technically doing what I love (or what my parents would define as “a hobby”) it becomes easy to work through weekends because, hey, I’m hustling, I’m making it happen, etc. But for this post, I want to look at 3 steps you can take to start nurturing your hobbies, even and especially the ones that don’t contribute to your work.
Let go of internalised guilt
The first part of this step is about redefining what hobbies are, and where they belong in your life. We have this idea that we only deserve to have fun, take breaks and do what makes us happy after we’ve achieved “enough.” It’s easy to glorify the hustle in a way that feeds into the Capitalistic narrative that joy, rest and leisure are luxuries of the rich.
Say it with me: YOU ALWAYS DESERVE TO DO THINGS THAT BRING YOU JOY.
I love baking, as pretty much anyone who knows me knows. I’ve always wanted to learn how to take good pictures of the things I bake and post them on some blog or finsta. A part of me thought: “that seems like a waste of time” and “how is that going to contribute to your film career?” I realised that I’d kept future-dating my baking goals for a time “after I’ve got my career” because in my head, it was essential that all of my time, money and energy go into hustling. And sure, I can’t go buy all the fancy equipment and ingredients I want right now, but damn, is it really so bad to invest time into something that brings me immediate, unfailing and immeasurable joy?
Block out days where you don’t touch work
This doesn’t have to be the weekend. I know as a creative or entrepreneur, some things might happen on weekends. If I have a weekend shoot, audition or meeting, I make sure I take one weekday off. (If I don’t, my body will make it so damn difficult to do anything that I’ll just have to– and I need to stop pushing myself to that point)
As cliché as it is, it’s so important to take time away from work. Not only to vegetate or rest, but to actively do something that you know always lifts your spirits. Whether it’s hiking (can’t relate, but do you), reading guilty-pleasure romance novels or painting, give yourself a day with as little obligations as possible so you can do those things.
Nurture that hobby that doesn’t feed into your work at all
As creatives, there is this pressure for everything we do to be “marketable.” When I pick up on hobbies, I immediately think about how it can contribute to my career somehow.
I started thinking about all of this when a friend who works in tech told me about the dance and music classes she’d started taking. I asked “Do you wanna perform?” to which she responded “Nope. I have no goals of being a musician, I just really love playing piano.” And I remember being so struck by that. What must it be like to see art as just a hobby, just something you like to do? Does it contribute to her career? Nope. Does it bring her joy? Yup.
And sure, it’s more complicated when trying to make a living off being an artist, but I think we need these reminders that some things can be just for you. I don’t have to do only things that I can add to my resumé. I am not, actually, my work. We’re allowed to enjoy things that do not generate income.
I feel a crazy spark when I start baking. I feel so excited when I start setting up the shots for the photos. Making my Sunday mornings about that has been the greatest decision I made this year. And sure, one day I’d love to sell baked goods, but for now, it just brings me joy. And that’s okay.
What fun, “useless” hobbies have you guilted yourself out of doing?