Saturday, February 1, 2014


by Ursula Renée

I told a relative I was interested in taking an oil painting class and he replied, “It’d be waste of time. You need to focus on your writing.”

On one hand, I was touched that he wanted me to focus on my dream. I have read stories of authors whose family members rolled their eyes and snickered when they announced they wanted to write. Therefore, I cherished my relative’s encouragement, but that did not mean I agreed with him.

In school, students are required to take a variety of courses outside their major. Some of the classes are necessary to improve skills the student need in life. The others are used to expose students to the world outside the one they already know.

Once a student graduates, the learning should not stop. There is so much the world has to offer, a person should not limit her experience. Instead, she should step outside the boundaries and explore new areas.

It may seem like a waste of time to pursue a hobby for many, outside jobs and family commitments do take up a lot of time. Therefore, they believe what little time is left over should be devoted to writing. However, taking two hours out of the one hundred sixty-eight hours in the week to concentrate on a hobby can help further a writing career.

An author suffering from writer’s block or working through a complicated scene can benefit from stepping away from the novel for an hour or two. Concentrating on another project can help clear a mind and enable the author to return to her work with new ideas.

Also, an author may be able to incorporate her hobby into the novel. A character who paints, fish, or hikes may be more interesting than someone who goes to work then returns home and stares at the computer. Even if the character does not use her skill in the story, the knowledge she possesses from her interest will make her more dimensional.

Do not believe that pursuing a hobby is a waste of time. A hobby will not only help you grow as a person, but it can help you in your pursuit of a writing career.♥

Ursula Renée is the President of RWA/NYC. She recently sold SWEET JAZZ, a historical romance, to The Wild Rose Press. When she is not writing, she enjoys photography, drawing and stone carving. Visit her at  

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