Dabbling

Last week’s post on piano-playing and success is still swirling around in my brain.

How many hobbies have I had?

  • Piano
  • Jewelry-making
  • Tennis
  • Rock-climbing
  • Painting
  • Fortune-telling (I was nine. My “crystal ball” was a marble.)
  • Embroidery and sewing

I’m certain I’ve forgotten some.

Writing used to be a hobby. Now I try to think of it as work, although that’s difficult when nobody’s ever paid me for it (a short story will be published and paid for soon, though!)

In looking over that list, I feel the familiar itch. Most of the supplies and gear necessary for those hobbies are in closets or the garage or the Love Shack (aka Writing Studio aka Guest Room). With enough time on my hands, I could create a new bracelet, or force my feet into the toe-bending climbing shoes. With the exception of fortune-telling, each of those hobbies are things I’d love to do, right at this moment.

But I had to make some choices, because I was dabbling. Dabbling in so many things meant I wasn’t getting good at any of them, and remember, writing used to be a hobby. I felt like if I wanted to be good at something, I had to sacrifice some of those other things, because I just don’t have the time to be good at all of them. It’s not possible – at least  not for me, not right now.

I chose writing. Maybe once Maverick starts school, or maybe even before that, I’ll find some time and energy for one or two of those other things. I mean, I wish, I hope it can be that way. Can I do them all? I don’t know the answer to that question. Because I still want to be a good mom and a good wife and while I don’t need to excel in each of those hobbies, some of them aren’t as much fun if I totally suck.

Is the choice really: dabble in many, or excel in a select few? Anybody want to weigh in with some advice?

11 comments

  1. mysticcooking · November 16, 2012

    Great post! I was actually thinking about this recently, how if you want to truly be great at something, you have to sacrifice all your time to it. You can be passable at many things, but the more you divide up your time and energy, the less you’ll excel at any one thing. I think it’s a hard lesson to learn, and everyone has to kind of come to it on their own as they prioritize their lives.

    p.s. Love the pictures!

    • Beth Hull · November 16, 2012

      Yes, it’s so hard narrowing it down, making choices. Maybe someday we can figure out how to do it all….

  2. PB Rippey · November 16, 2012

    I love the gopherettes. Look at you dabble! You know–I don’t play the piano as well or as much as I’d like to, or the recorder, but when I do play the songs I love, I feel such delight. For me it’s not freaking out about the time I’m giving dabbling (well, within limits) and not stressing over the fact that if someone asked me to play my stuff at Carnegie Hall next week, I couldn’t. I couldn’t even play a coffee shop. I can barely keep ’em interested playing my living room. But that’s okay! Ha ha! TGIF, Beth. TGIF.

    • Beth Hull · November 16, 2012

      Yeah, the piano’s okay – I don’t mind “dabbling” in that, because I feel delight, as you say. But the things like, I dunno, painting, or scrapbooking, or climbing. Not as much fun for me when dabbling.
      Amen, TGIF.

      • PB Rippey · November 18, 2012

        Well, there’s always the unicycle…possibly.

  3. Randi · November 16, 2012

    I think the gypsy gopher is my favorite so far! Would that come under the title “Gophering”? I remember hobbies I wish you had as a child…picking up walnuts, doing dishes, washing the car, raking leaves…need I go on?

    • Beth Hull · November 16, 2012

      There’s hope yet, Mom. Maybe Z and Maverick will adopt those “hobbies.” It skips a generation. Oh wait…TWO generations. 🙂

  4. Pat Kahn · November 18, 2012

    I love the gypsy gopher! I’ve long been torn between tapestry weaving, illustrating, jewelry design, and writing for children. I have but to walk by one of my looms, my drafting table, or my jewelry bench and I hear the familiar siren song. But I’ve given my heart to writing. It’s truly what gives me the most joy. Perhaps when I finish this book, I’ll do a bit of dabbling. But the next book is already calling me.

    • Beth Hull · November 19, 2012

      Pat, I think you put your finger on it – find the thing that gives you the most joy. And yes, maybe writing could be our priority, but we could dabble in other projects on the side?

      Also, yes, those next books. They call. I can’t wait to read yours.

      • Pat Kahn · November 19, 2012

        Yes, we could definitely dabble in other projects on the side. Makes me think of the wonderful PBS Duckumentary a few nights ago. There are dabblers who feed on the water’s surface and divers who find their food on the rocky and sandy floors of their ponds. I’m a bit of both. I’ve chosen to dive into the writing, but will continue to thoroughly enjoy dabbling in various things on the surface.

        • Beth Hull · November 19, 2012

          Apt and beautiful analogy, Pat! Duckalicious.

          Oh dear. I think I need to go to sleep.

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