Singing is one of my hobbies.
From an early age, I’d wander around the house singing—sometimes my favorite Disney hits; sometimes tunes of my own making. A Christmas pageant director once told me I had perfect pitch. I took a few voice lessons and sang on my church’s praise team as a teenager. I even ended up in my college’s women’s choir.
When I was younger, I thought I wanted to make this dream into a career. I thought I wanted to be a singer.
But today it’s a hobby.
I still absolutely enjoy singing (especially when the Frozen soundtrack comes on in my car).
But I knew singing wasn’t my passion when I realized I didn’t want to work at it. Glittering stardom and singing my heart out for a packed arena of fans sounded okay. But music theory classes? Hours spent in a practice room?
Ick. It would kill the joy of singing for me.
Photography is another hobby of mine. My family got our first point-and-shoot digital camera in 2004, and almost immediately my finger was glued to the shutter button. I’d never enjoyed analog photography, because when my packet of prints would come back after 2 weeks, half the shots were invariably blurred or featured my finger across the lens—and by then, of course, it was too late to fix them.
With the help of the digital LCD screen, though, I began to play with composition, lighting, and color—knowing I could delete the hundreds of bloopers without cost or frustration. I learned a few things from friends and from books, and for high school graduation my mom upgraded me to a camera with many more capabilities. I did photo shoots for friends and family and even a few paid gigs. I thought about becoming a photographer.
But the fact was—
I didn’t want to work at it.
I may still be the family’s designated cameraperson, and taking pictures with friends is still one of my favorite pastimes. Unless otherwise credited, all the images on this blog are mine, and I’m glad I can make them decent.
But classes and books on color theory and darkroom technique? Lugging around loads of equipment and small-talking about white balance and f-stops?
No thank you.
That kind of work would take the joy out of photography for me.
Storytelling is my passion.
I didn’t always know that. There was a time when I thought writing was my absolute nemesis.
But with some tastes of success, some writerly friends, and some encouraging teachers, I began to feel like I could be good at writing. I began to like it. Suddenly, around age 14, I realized I loved it.
At first, I didn’t want to work at it. I wanted my first drafts to be magically perfect (hey, wouldn’t that be nice?).
But as my confidence grew, so did my willingness to edit, to accept critique. I took classes, formed writing groups with other teens. I read books that inspired me. And soon it became evident.
Writing wasn’t just a hobby. It’s my passion—my calling—my vocation.
And when you find that one consuming passion, you’re willing to work for it. Even if it means cutting up a whole story with scissors, shuffling the pieces around, and rewriting.
“I want to be a writer!”
I hear that a lot.
In elementary schoolers, I encourage it. A dream is something that can fuel you, give you direction. And I’m biased, but I think writing is a wonderful dream.
For older students and adults, though, I add a few words of caution:
Know the difference between your hobbies and your passion.
Not that I don’t want people to become writers. It’s a path filled with beauty, energy, and excitement. I wouldn’t choose any other.
But the road is also paved with risk, anxiety, isolation, and sacrifice.
And to stay the course without losing your joy, writing has to be your passion, not just a hobby.
Have you found your passion? What other hobbies did you dream of making into careers?
2 thoughts on “Hobbies vs. Passion”
It’s so easy to get caught up in thinking that we have to be good at everything we do & that can just set us up to not meet our potential anywhere. I love the idea of giving ourselves permission to just be okay at & enjoy the things we like and really pour ourselves into our passions. You separate the two our so well here 🙂 This post also reminds me a lot of how C & I view what “talent” means. Prob a good discussion for creative night 🙂
So true–if we think we have to ace every pursuit we try, why try at all and risk failing? Some of those pursuits can be really fun and add new angles to our understanding of our main passion. Thanks for the encouragement!