A Hobby By Any Other Name

📅 March 4, 2020

The word—spoken—hung in the air like the rain cloud over Eeyore’s head.


The tax man uttered the term casually, when, in the process of reporting my income, I mentioned I am “an independent writer.” I explained. I write a book, publish with Kindle Direct Press, order the books, host a book signing, pay for the books I ordered, and have a few left over in my “inventory.”

Once I described the process, he designated the passion to which I have devoted ten years of my life as a “hobby,” which translates to: it is not my profession. In other words, I don’t depend on book sales to pay my electric bill or my property taxes.

Good thing.

I looked up hobby—”an activity or interest pursued for pleasure or relaxation and not as a main occupation.” Any golfer, for instance, who pursues his “play” as passionately as I pursue my “work,” would wriggle against the clinical designation of  his/her game as a “hobby.” Golfers…at least the ones I know…take their quest for excellence on the course seriously…grimly…pursed lips, furrowed brows.

The same could be said for the collectors I know, as well as the artists, musicians, gardeners, readers, decorators. They love what they do, but investing time in that particular passion alone would not keep food on their tables or their cars on the road.

So call it what it is—a hobby—but don’t underestimate the investment of time…and heart…in the quest for “pleasure.” Writing is seldom what I could describe as “relaxing,” but I am happier when I am engaged in the business of putting words on paper.

In fact, this very word—hobby—came up in my first book. My main character Agnes Quinn longs to be a writer, but her practical father urges her to fit herself for an occupation which will generate reliable income.

She ponders:

Hobby—it only writing were as simple as that. Anyone who has never felt compelled to apply words to paper, never been induced to find a quiet place to sweat out the fever of an ailing plot thread, cannot know what it is to be afflicted with the writing virus. The art is malarial in its tenacity, infectious in its essence. Though my parents and teachers warned me of its contagion, once I saw my first paragraph on the page, I became powerless to stop. I’d drunk from the enchanted chalice of Writing and would be forever under its spell.   

In future Wednesday blog posts, I will share what I have learned in the last ten years of being submerged in my “hobby.” If you have a story you are longing to tell, join me again for helpful hints and supportive suggestions.

But don’t give up your day job.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Holly Bebernitz

Native Texan Holly Bebernitz moved to Jacksonville, Florida in 1967. After thirty years of teaching speech, English, and history on the secondary and college levels, she retired from classroom teaching to become a full-time grandmother. The change in schedule allowed the time needed to complete the novel she had begun writing in 1998. When Trevorode the Defender was published in March 2013, the author realized the story of the Magnolia Arms was not yet complete.


Semi-Finalist - 2021 Royal Palm Literary Award Competition - Florida Writer's Association