Does anyone else ever get a weird urge to completely reinvent themselves and focus all their time and energy on a new hobby until you’ve perfected it?
Yeah, me too.
This week, it was drawing.
I can’t actually draw, of course. But I would like to someday. I would like to be able to draw and dance and sing and paint. I want to be a photographer and a fashion designer and a yoga master and a private chef and a master gardener. If I indulged every interest of mine with concentrated practice the way I wanted to, I would use every second of every day. I would have a new obsession every week, and I would never reach even basic proficiency within my obsessions.
So, I don’t indulge the impulse. I’m not an artist or a chef. I paint occasionally—and produce terrible work that I enjoyed doing—I cook for myself and my husband and sometimes a few friends, and I practice yoga in the mornings to keep myself in shape.
But I invest in my writing.
I take classes. I analyze scripts and books and stories that others have written to understand how they were created and what makes them powerful. I study humor and prose and story structure until I can’t sit down to a favorite show or movie without dissecting the plot, the jokes, and the motivation of each of the characters within the story. I practice daily, and focus my energy on becoming the best storyteller I can be.
Writing has always been my obsession. But obsessions, especially for me, are a dime a dozen. I can pick up anything and make it an obsession of mine. Obsession is easy.
It never lasts.
So I invest when I don’t feel like it. When a shiny new obsession is beckoning, I’ve learned to ignore it. When I would rather draw or paint or cook or garden or learn to dance, I come back to what I know I’m good at. What I know is important in my life. My stories pay the bills, yes, but I write when I’m not being paid, because it’s important. Because it’s more than a job or an obsession or an impulse.
It’s a calling.
One I can invest in and know that, at the end of the day, my time was worth something.
Or, at least, that’s what I tell myself when my grasshopper brain is trying to convince me that I could drop everything I’ve been working on for the last nine years and learn to draw something better than stick figures so I can be an animator.
Because that’s a totally plausible outcome.
What kind of obsessions do you have? Tell me about them in the comments!