Take a Look at my Hobbies (They’re Not the Only Ones I Got)

I’ll be the first to say it: I have a really short attention span.

It didn’t used to be that bad until I hit college and had basically no rules about what I had to do aside from go to class and work on time. Until I discovered that there were things on the internet beyond email and occasionally checking facebook, but this was back when facebook was much smaller so there were much fewer people on there. (Did I just age myself? Oops). It was that first year of college that really saw my attention span dwindle to the size of a pea.

I’m constantly surprised that I almost always see my stories through to the end, but I guess that’s the exception. I’m glad it is, though, because if I couldn’t finish my stories, I would constantly be frustrated. I suppose that’s because I come from the world of fanfiction where there are hundreds of great stories that have never been finished. I made a resolution early on that I would always finish writing everything before it ever saw the light of the internet. With the exception of a couple stories (which did get finished, for the record), I’ve stuck to that rule. I really think that helped a lot with my work ethic now.

My hobbies are really oddly varied and none of them are completely developed either. I know how to do lots of things but not how to do them well or do anything beyond the most common types of them. For example, I know how to sew, quilt, knit, cook, bake, make candles, do pottery – almost every crafty thing out there, I’ve at least tried it once. I may not be good at any of those things, but I know how to do them.

It’s that which makes me question my attention span. If I picked one and stuck with it, I could probably learn to be good at it. I could learn how to knit something other than a scarf. I could learn to bake more than desserts, or attempt French pastries, which have long eluded my skill level but not my taste palate. Having a varied group of hobbies is good for a writer, though. It gives me lots of opportunities to add it into my stories and at least know what I’m talking about for the most part.

Once, in France, I met this random guy on the street and proceeded to have coffee with him. When I made an excuse not to meet him later to go out, he told me that if I wanted to be a writer, I had to take chances. At the time, I resented that because he was just trying to pressure me into going out with him. And now, three years later, I’ve been to twenty different countries, most of the time alone, and I’ve had a thousand experiences that didn’t include going out with some guy I didn’t know after dark. Being smart and taking chances are two completely different things.

So yes, if you want to be a writer, you do have to take chances and try new things. Have varied, unrelated hobbies, and have a short attention span! In the end, it might pay off and you’ll be able to take those hobbies (and peer pressure) and write them into a great antagonist. Your readers will love it.