Is it work, or is it play?

I can’t figure out if writing is my job or my hobby. Putting aside the money, this is one issue that continues to confound me. When I’m not writing, or it’s hard, and the deadline is approaching, and I’d really just rather be on the couch reading a novel, it feels like a job: I have to be organised, keep regular hours, meet goals, etc. And a bloody hard job, too. I’d often rather go in to work at uni; at least there I know what to do and when to do it.

But when the writing is flowing, or I’m sitting in a cafe roughing out scene ideas, or I find a particular piece of research that sparks off a chain of great ideas, then it’s a hobby. Something I do to relax, to have fun, to recreate.

Why does it matter if it’s a job or a hobby? Well, it’s the whole life-balance thing. I subscribe wholly to the theory that a rewarding and happy life comes from loving well, working well, and playing well.¬† Loving, that’s easy (though I did coin a new term for how one feels living with small children: demorexhaustalised). Working, I do plenty of that and it’s interesting and rewarding. But playing? Is that my writing time, or my meagre 5 hours or so a week of World of Warcraft? If it’s the latter, then I’m out of balance. If it’s the former, then I win life.

So is the answer to play more MMORPGs?* Or is it to stop all this pointless blogging and write a bit more?

Field of Clouds is past 5000 words as of today. My writing buddy has proclaimed that it’s not the pile of utter shite I fear it is, so I guess I just put my head down and keep going. At the moment, it doesn’t much feel like fun. But, as always, that’s subject to change without notice. The only way out is through.

* Massively multi-player online role playing games (or “many men online role playing as girls”)

3 responses to “Is it work, or is it play?

  1. Can it be both? Work and hobby? That way, when it’s hard and you have to drag yourself to your desk, you get the reward of some play time at the end. When you’re loving it and don’t want to be torn away from it, then it’s a hobby and you don’t need any rewards.
    Although I can imagine the MMORPGs might try to win you over for more playing (sorry – research) time …
    Good luck with Field of Clouds.

  2. maybe it’s how you interpret a hobby. i admit that my first reaction to the word is that it’s about dabbling, but many people are experts in their hobby. i am not one. i have heaps-o-hobbies and am crap at all of them, but i accept that in myself.
    the definition relates to something being done outside of your regular occupation. so maybe it isn’t a hobby at all. it’s just fun. sometimes work is fun. when i taught 4th grade maths, i loved it.* when i had time off, i created more games and songs to make maths more fun. work equaled fun.
    that sounded odd, so maybe it’s the word “work”. can work be enjoyable? sure, if you do what you love. and doesn’t it make you love it just a bit more to have obstacles that you overcome?
    as for your “pointless blogging”, isn’t this a little bit of writing? writing about writing. metawriting? cyber group therapy?

    *but no, i’d never teach again. 1% of teaching is administration. administrators are the Marburg virus to teachers.

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