When your hobby becomes your work….

Today is my 29th birthday. My grandfather refused to believe this, until I made my grandmother spell it out for him. “Yes, dear. She was born in ’83. Next year she’ll be thirty.”

“THIRTY?”

Thirty.

Or maybe I won’t be thirty. Maybe I’ll just keep recycling 29 like the Hollywood women do. Somehow I doubt it. I like to tick off the passing years, because it reminds me to be grateful for every day—and to keep running after my dreams, because sooner or later, the sand slipping through the hourglass will take me with it.

This year, as most years, I’m working on my birthday. But this year, unlike any other year before, I’m working as an author.

I’ve heard a lot of people say they wouldn’t want to pursue their dreams or hobbies as work, because doing so would ruin the fun. I spent some time trying to figure that out, and came to the conclusion that I disagree.

Work comes with a series of frustrations: bosses, deadlines, conflicts, projects you don’t necessarily care for. And hobbies can seem like a welcome respite from these demands.

But when you turn the hobby into a job, you create a whole new set of work demands—all centred around your hobby. Writing professionally comes with the same deal: bosses, deadlines, conflicts, projects you don’t necessarily care for. But is it really the same thing? Would I now equate  the have-tos of “writing” with the have-tos of “working.”

No.

Because even if I have to do things I don’t necessarily like—promotion comes to mind—ultimately, these frustrations both a.) help to fulfill my dreams and b.) help to pad my bank account. Before, the frustrations just padded my bank account, and that wasn’t enough for me.

Dealing with an iPage crash (the biggest frustration of last week) in no way compares to the daily 100km commute in rush hour traffic I left behind. It just doesn’t. Turning a hobby into a job, in my opinion, takes that whole category of “job frustrations” and chucks it out the window, to be permanently replaced by “much less serious hobby frustrations.” You don’t notice that these things are much less frustrating until you really think about it, because of course, humans are adaptable creatures and we will gladly get our noses out of joint for even minor things….

Today, my to-do list includes

  • Writing a blog post
  • Checking out Gourmet Cooking from the library
  • Researching sex surrogacy (and possibly seeing that new movie with Helen Hunt)
  • Eating birthday cake.

Does it beat last year? Absolutely.

Am I sorry I turned my hobby into my job? Absolutely not.

Today, I’m working on writing, and writing to work.

What are your dreams? Go ahead, make a wish. You can borrow one of my birthday candles. :o)