Writing Is Not a Hobby You Need to Take Up

I’ve seen a debate ping-ponging around the internet that’s silly and interesting all at once.


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Silly because…

Everything. Has. Stopped.

I’m not saying that means we all have nothing to do now. We all have more to do now than ever.

But I’m saying… the way it was/what we had/life as we knew it… has stopped.

Yet! The momentum from our absurdly productive society B.C. (before corona) continues to feed our anxiety over productivity in our current reality.

Honestly, when I look at the image above in the context of reality as I know it on April 8, 2020, the first thing I think is …

WHO CARES?

Who cares if I disappoint this rando guy on Twitter because I didn’t learn to play the guitar, or create a family game night tradition that my children remember for the rest of their lives, or WHATEVER?

But it’s interesting because a lot of people who saw this tweet as it evolved into a viral meme did care. A lot of people posted FURIOUS responses to it:


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I think the meme touches off such an angry response because it reflects our inner critics back to us.

Before this guy on Twitter wrote this thing, my inner critic was already telling me that I suck for not learning the guitar right now. For not making this a magical time of family bonding. For… whatever.

The inner critic’s work is to silence us, and she takes her work seriously.

You might even hear her saying, “You think you have the time to take up a hobby right now?? Idiot. No one has time to take up a ‘hobby,’ and even if they do have time, they don’t have the emotional bandwidth.”

The inner critic doesn’t stop me anymore from writing. Actually, she keeps me writing.

I keep writing through the storm because writing is not a hobby for me. It’s not a thing I’ll pick up now that I have time.

Writing is a place I go. Not a thing I do.

We can’t go anywhere physically right now. So, more than ever, we need proverbial places to go within our imaginations to demarcate the different areas of our lives.

I have the writing place.

I go to the writing place, where I can stretch into my full being. My aliveness. I can assert my right to feel joy. To feel free.

I go to that place by writing out my big ideas. Or by reading old stuff I’ve written. By taking notes on my thoughts, by writing stories, crafting essays. I go there. Often I share the stuff that comes out of there with you. I don’t always.

But I don’t go there to be productive. I create something when I’m there. But creating and producing aren’t the same thing.

I go to writing because despite my inner critic’s best efforts she can’t actually get inside the writing place.

Whether you’re writing or not, I hope you have a place you go.

Maggie

PS: That inner critic voice pierces some of us so deeply in this moment. Of course we all know that. But I came across this video from Jay Shetty on Janet Jackson’s feed the other day. I’m not a Jay Shetty fan, but I liked this video because it highlights the stark difference between what we say to ourselves and what we deserve to say to ourselves. Go watch it and find a way to let go of some of that rotting crud.

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