Musings: When does a hobby turn into work?

I know a lot of people with true hobbies – golf, kickball, computer gaming, board gaming, etc. – but then there are people who I can’t quite tell if it’s a hobby or a really-poorly-paid-job.  Sometimes they even “earn” money from their hobby – woodworking, knitting, LARP (yes, there are people that make some money on this… maybe just enough to cover costs but…)  So at what point does the hobby turn into a second job? At what point would you call it that?

As a writer, I sometimes feel like my novel IS a second job. I’m tired, my brain is twisted in knots, but I force myself to sit down and write a hundred words, or five hundred words. There are days where writing is more “job” than hobby – and I’m not getting paid for my writing.

I have been struggling to write lately.  And by lately, I mean since about November. My work has gotten very busy. Not in just hours (although there have been weeks of that too), but in mental power needed. I’m stretching professionally in my role as we’re making some changes in the company and I’m getting to take a lead on them. Add to this a major home-renovation project of my bathtub in my one-bathroom condo and… sitting down to write is both a guilty pleasure and a chore.

So I’ve let myself write when I have the urge, and let myself not-write (binge-watch tv and crochet, play video games, etc.) as well. I have written a few thousand words in the past few weeks, but we’re talking like 5,000 words in three weeks. That’s like 250 words on average per day. Granted, there was one day of like 2,500 words.

At what point does a hobby become something more? I’m not a “professional” writer. I’ve never been paid for anything I’ve written. I want to be paid. I want to be published. I have a soft-spot in my heart for the idea of holding a hardcover copy of a novel with my name on the cover…

It’s not questions I have answers to. Do I call myself professional if I write daily? Do I call myself a professional if I’m paid? Only if I’m making my living at it? How do I balance sanity and social-life with my desire to be a writer?

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