The Sleeves with No Sweater: I Miss My Hobbies

Last night, for the first time in months, I sat down and worked on my knitting project. It’s a sweater I started over a year ago. Right now, it’s just two sleeves and a tiny portion of the back. It’s sleeves with no sweater.

As I was making modest additions to the back section, it hit me.

I miss my hobbies.

I think I need help.

For the past few years, writing has occupied the space in my life that used to be reserved for hobbies. That’s not to say that I view writing as a hobby. I’m pursuing publication in a major way and if I could make a living as a writer, believe me, I would absolutely be doing it. It’s just that the time I’m not working in my day job or spending with my family normally gets allocated to writing.

And the thing is, when I do think about spending time with my hobbies, it’s usually with a sense of guilt. Like I’m letting everyone down who supports and helps me if I don’t spend every spare moment trying to do something to improved my chances of becoming a successful author. Still, every now and again I miss my hobbies.

Here’s the things I miss:

reading

1 – Reading
That probably sounds weird. On one hand I do more reading now than at any point in my life. I average 2-3 books per week. But my reading experience is different than it was before. Typically, when I hit my local bookstore, I’m on a mission to request a book by an author I admire or follow. Or I have my books preordered way in advance to support fellow writers. Gone are the days of popping into the shop, browsing the shelves and making a choice based on the artwork on the cover or copy on the jacket. I also miss uncritical reading. Now, when I read, I’m taking notes. What does the author do exceptionally well that I can learn from? Has anyone else notice that the book has the word gaze on the same page three times?

sweater

2 – Knitting
My family might be happy that my knitting has slowed down because I was running out of people interested in receiving handmade hats and socks. But I used to take classes from time to time on the weekend. Knitting is relaxing and, in some ways, very inspiring to my creativity.

unicorn

3 – Coloring
My new Harry Potter coloring book sits in my art box, crying out for someone to come along and mark up its pages. I have a brand new set of scented markers that haven’t been touched. I did go to one adult coloring night at Changing Hands but overall, I’d count this as a hobby that’s in a state of neglect.

The thing is, I actually think that hobbies can be really beneficial. They can jump start the creative process and allow the brain to relax and refocus. I don’t think it’s a waste of time for me to engage in my hobbies but I FEEL like it is.

So I’m sending this question out into the blogosphere. How do you balance it all? How do you make sure you have time for work, family, writing and hobbies?

I’d love suggestions in the comments below.

In the meantime, I do plan to try to make modest progress on my sweater. I’d love to be wearing it when my book is released next fall.