Writing used to be a hobby. Now I've realized I need a new one.
Not that I mean to stop writing -- I don't. But writing fiction has changed for me. It's not something I do as a form of escapism from real life, or something that relieves stress and angst. It IS my real life. And it's often a source of stress and angst. I don't think the change came from being published -- it comes from focusing on becoming (and staying) published.
I don't make a living from writing fiction -- not by a long shot. Still, I have acknowledged myself as a writer and it's part of my public persona, but more importantly, it's too big a part of my private identity. It's no longer a no-stakes endeavor. The emotional stakes are high.
So now I need a hobby as relief from my hobby. Before I had children, I used to garden and still do, but my schedule doesn't give me free time during prime gardening hours. It's hard to prune roses at 9:30 p.m.
So I've returned to childhood pursuit that fell by the wayside -- drawing. I was a serious art student in high school, but now I find myself shockingly rusty. Still, it's fun for now. I'm actually trying my hand at illustrating my own stories, just pencil, ink, and brush pen. I'm strictly unprofessional and hope to stay that way -- if I start angsting about developing an illustration career, I'll be back scrambling for another hobby.
Is writing a hobby for you, or is it more? When did it change? What other personal pursuits do you have, and how do they interact with your writing?