When I tell other writers I ‘fell’ into journalism, it’s usually met with an eye roll.
It understandably irks that I didn’t have a burning childhood desire to edit my school paper or collect Vogues but the truth is, I started blogging as a hobby and to make my mates laugh with funny (albeit badly edited) posts.
The old idiom ‘do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life’ isn’t entirely true – I work, a lot – although I can’t complain. I’m still shocked I make a living doing what I would have happily done for free a few years back. It’s a staggering privilege I struggle to get my head around.
Still, the stress of work often bleeds into the things I love most: I co-wrote a book with my best friend which is incredible, but the person who was once my confidant about the pitfalls of the industry has become my co-conspirator.
I travel a lot to cover events, but I don’t have much time for holidays. I even write about TV, a once blissfully empty-headed pastime now taken over by analysis and careful critique.
The lines between recreation and work, business and pleasure, best friend and business partner, constantly blur. Perhaps the more accurate saying would be ‘do what you love and you’ll never stop working.’
Turning a passion into a side hustle can be incredibly rewarding, especially for women and even more so for women of colour who are doubly penalised by pay gaps in the workplace. Yet even if you do decide to make money from a talent, it shouldn’t be in lieu of recreation and hobbies which they often are.
The idea of just doing things because you like it feels increasingly archaic and the freedom to ‘waste’ time on things that we’re not even good at is almost obsolete.
Writing was just something I liked and happened to be good at. This was the same for art, something I’ve enjoyed recreationally since I can remember. But unlike writing, I must keep it as a hobby, to keep many sanity.
Painting is one of the only things that I do for doing’s sake. The closest I ever came to making money off of my art was decorating my classmates textbooks with Disney princesses for a small sum in year eight.
I did it for friends first out of sheer enjoyment, but sooner or later acquaintances caught wind and I started offering my services for a fee.
The enjoyment soon left it soon after. My brief stint with entrepreneurialism now means I keep my paintings for myself or gift them, but I’m a millennial (and a Nigerian one at that), so a need to monetise often subconsciously creeps in. Our current culture teaches that time spent not earning is wasted.
I can paint but nothing makes me happier than when people do it out of pure love, as opposed to perfectionism.
I think a lot about the fact that as children we were all artists of differing levels – scribbling stick men and doodling Dragonball Z characters on tabletops.
My therapist told me to start painting again and she might have just did sumn! First time with oil paints (I know it looks like there's some deep meaning behind this btw but it's literally just based on a photo @philippamensah1 took in South Africa lol 👩🏾🎨🎨 pic.twitter.com/n0niQLllk5
— Yomi Adegoke 🇳🇬 (@yomiadegoke) July 9, 2019
We were all footballers and singers until the ‘mediocre’ were eventually siphoned off and only the ‘talented’ were left doing things many of us enjoyed. By the end of it, it’s often only ‘professionals’ left.
The idea of story writing for the sake of it is increasingly considered the preserve of children. That’s not what hobbies should be about – they should be about leisure and love.
I love the idea of cosplayers dedicating hours to create costumes for an event that takes place once a year, or even spending money on outfits, instead of earning it.
I love watching the top-notch bakers on Bake Off as much as I do the terrible contestants on Netflix’s Nailed It! (a bake-off competition with only the most amateur of amateurs cast) – the common denominator is the joy of baking.
Why join a drama club or choir if you can’t act or sing? The answer is simple: because you want to.
I’m a horrific swimmer but adore it. I flopped German at GSCE but my phone is filled with language learning apps like Memrize and Duolingo. I would love to eventually master these things but if I don’t, who cares?
More importantly, if I do, it doesn’t mean I have to do anything meaningful with these newfound gifts.
There is increasing conversation about the fact we don’t need to earn from everything but I say we take it a step further: a return to purely ‘pointless’ activities like stamp collecting, bird watching, juggling and card tricks.
Spare time is spare for a reason – it’s the loose change of a week spent ‘grinding’. In the slither of time between the main hustle and side, wedge in something that is purely for you and wasteful in every conceivable way other than the nourishing of your soul. The worse you are at it, the better.