I have a knack for finding seemingly cheap hobbies and making them expensive. Let’s take running for example…a pair of shoes and some water and you’re off to conquer the road, right? At least that’s what I thought when I first got started. I mean, I already had work-out clothes. So just add running shoes…oh, and a Garmin would be nice. Cotton is rotten when it comes to socks, so I’ll need some good moisture wicking ones. Oh, and Gu or Chomps are needed to sustain me during my long runs. And let’s not go into how much race fees are—I actually have “Race Fees” as one of my budget categories in the family budget.
I like to think that I’m not the only one whose hobbies expand like that. Darrell is always so sweet about indulging my hobbies. For years I was an enthusiastic scrapbooker—not even a remotely cheap hobby. Over the years, I’ve purchased enough paper, rubber stamps and embellishments to chronicle albums for ten families. I still have all my supplies in the basement, along with several years of pictures that need to be put in albums. What I don’t have is the time (or enthusiasm) to do it right now. And so it sits, there in the corner of the basement, awaiting a time when I make it a priority again. I’d like to think that I will someday—I just hope that I’ll be able to remember who the people are in the photographs!
Writing, another hobby that’s cheap on the surface, has also cost more over the years than one would think it could. I’ve taken several online writing courses, bought many books about writing and now I’m gearing up to register and attend my first writing conference. The RT Book Lovers Convention (www.rtconvention.com) is scheduled for next spring in Dallas, Texas, and my cousin, Kim and I have been planning out how we’ll be attending. There’s a lot to take into consideration when attending—namely if I’ll attend as a blogger, reader or aspiring author (they all cost the same—a lot). They did not have an “all of the above”, so I’ll have to decide exactly what I am. I like to think of myself as all three, but here lately, the aspiring author in me seems to be buried deep within. Very deep.
I started this blog as a writing outlet, and it’s been just that. What I like most about blogging is the interaction with people—it’s almost an “instant gratification” type of thing for me. Thanks to Facebook, I can see who “likes” my posts and read comments about them right after I write them. There’s a certain accountability factor as well—I need to post regularly to remind people that the Lighthearted Dragonfly is still flying. On the other hand, when I’m working on other writing, it just sits there on the computer, where no one views it but me. I start ideas and re-work and sometimes delete them. I stall on them. To be honest, I’m not productive with the types of writing that an “aspiring author” would have under their belt to take to a convention. I can’t bring ten half-finished stories that I haven’t figured out how to resolve.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that when I started calculating the cost of attending the convention and decided to write a post about it that the image of the scrapbooks in the basement popped into my subconscious. As someone who writes for fun, it’s one of my biggest concerns—that I’ll never finish the one story that might have someday made it to the publisher. Instead of boxes of pictures and papers there will be loads of files with names like “Adelaide—the Misfit Psychic”. I can’t let that happen. Adelaide is way to cool for that.
When someone is invested financially in something, they’re more likely to hold it to a higher standard. Take the typical teenager and their car. Hand over a car to them, and chances are it won’t be valued as much as the car they had to save and work for themselves. The same is true of hobbies. I look at it this way. Investing in a hobby—your time and your money—returns to you in a lot of ways that aren’t always tangible. My little running hobby helps me maintain my weight, developed friendships and boosts my mood. Scrapbooking, although incomplete, documents so many family memories—again, priceless. And then there’s writing. I may never make a dime from the hours I’ve poured myself into pages. But money making from it has never been my sole motivator (it’d be a great by-product!) So I’ll go to this convention and indulge myself a little. I’ll be surrounded by other people who love books and words and storytelling. And hopefully come out a little more knowledgeable. And who knows? This little “aspiring author”, poking her head out of her shell might just join the race against the hare.