Friday, February 01, 2008


So you know those profile things that sites make you fill out? Where you list your hobbies and your favorite books/TV shows/Movies, because someone thinks it will help you find people that you want to hang out with and discuss how much you all love Lost?

The purpose of such profile fields doesn't matter. We had to create a teacher profile when I worked in Japan, and it listed things like our favorite food and Japanese word, our nationality, and our hobbies. Perhaps I regard these questions as suspicious because I always feared something like this might happen. Shame on you, Tourism Toronto, you only confirm that I have no idea why anyone would want to go to Toronto.

Anyway, after having to fill out profiles, one develops a standard response. An ingrained list that one automatically jots down in the empty box. Recently, I was reminded I had to do one of these profile things for the work-for-hire client. When I start filling it out, I get to the question about hobbies, and I put in the pre-determined list that I have been putting down for the past like ten years.

Lo, I realize something, the first item on that list: writing. What I have I been hired to do for this client? Write.

My hobby just became my job. If that was my primary hobby, and now it's also my job, what else I am doing? I'm not talking about the bad TV I watch, the books I read, or my budding addiction to the Free Rice vocabulary game. (Which, by the way, is much more like a SAT question than a vocab quiz, because you're defining the word with a synonym.)

Often, I talk to other friends who have creative jobs about the importance of having a different creative hobby. Creativity is a lot like a muscle—you can strengthen it by training, and use routine to learn discipline, but you can so easily over-exert your creativity and burnt out. Just like you can lift too much weight at the gym and seriously hurt your body.

I used to draw all the time. It was a passion—but I had no delusions of becoming An Artist. It was just something fun I did to pass the time. When I started to take fine arts as foundation study then moved on to graphic design studies, art as a hobby became tiring. I spent all day involved in visual communication. When I got home, I wanted to do something else.

More and more time was spent writing, and less and less time was spent on personal art. The last piece I did was a birthday present for someone in June. As my "job" is shifting to writing, I find myself hungering for that visual communication. The balance of images to words that has maintained my life.

There's something very exciting realizing this is the void, and I do know how to span it.

However, since Eileen Cook's UNPREDICTABLE will be in stores next week, I think I'll finish the last Dante Valentine book before I spend all day agonizing over my inability to draw hands. Feet. Torsos. Legs. Arms. Dynamic poses. Animals....


Eileen said...

I hope you like the book!

Sarah K said...

I might not mind visiting Toronto, but I am so avoiding the beauty pageants now.

Well, I would have avoided them anyway. But you know what I'm trying to say.