I’ve always been terrible at hobbies.
Collecting stamps, ok…collecting anything, woodworking, gardening….I just never seemed to have the time or inclination. I’ve just plain sucked at engaging in so-called “leisure activities”: watching the big game on Sunday (I hate watching sports on TV), playing golf or tennis on the weekends, Thursday night bowling. I like to work and I like to create. Since I essentially am my business, it’s pretty hard to separate work from the personal areas of my life. Lines blur. My tendency would be to work and be with my family, and to not have time for anything else.
That’s not a badge of honor. It’s a recipe for burnout, in both a creative and a very real sense. So starting a couple of years ago, I made a real effort to create time away from my business and away from my camera so I could begin to enjoy other interests. As a result, I now have a daily practice of meditation. I started writing every day (my challenge this year is to write 1000 words every day). I play the guitar—not well, but getting better daily—a dream I’ve had since I was little. I read a lot, 25 or so books a year. I also take lots of walks and hikes, since being out in nature is a pretty critical part of my renewal and rejuvenation.
I’ve found that it can’t just be about photography, or business, or work, as much as I enjoy those things. I’m certainly not “balanced” on a daily basis, but now I find that taking the time to engage in other activities makes everything else smoother, better, more sustainable. I’m less stressed and more engaged in all areas of my life as a result.
I’ve learned that what inspires us as creatives isn’t always the work we’re assigned to do. Inspiration comes from many places—from our relationships, from the creative work we take on ‘for fun’ and, of course, from the play—er, hobbies—we engage in.