People with many interests are often referred to as a "Jack of all trades, but master of none" but I want to plea the case of the serial hobbyist and creatives everywhere.
The phrase ‘serial hobbyist’ perhaps conjures up the idea of someone madly hopping from project to project, never finishing anything; half knitted jumpers, instruments and craft tools strewn about the house. They are often seen as fickle people who frequently try new hobbies, for a time motivated and excited by a project, but ultimately lose interest and flit onto something new.
Being ‘amateur’ at many things is often thought to be at the expense of mastering one. In fact, the word amateur is derived from ‘amare,’ the Latin for ‘to love.’ Rather than meaning someone who is semi-capable at something, the word's origin refers to someone who does something simply for the love of it.
They may have unfinished projects, but the serial hobbyist is ultimately an enthusiast, a curious person, who finds joy in trying new things. Hobbies are supposed to be fun and recreational, aren't they? If you lose interest, painfully ploughing on with the project may defeat the point of having a hobby in the first place. And isn’t the hobby about enjoying the process of baking/scuba diving/origami/chess?
The Joy Of Learning New Skills
My Dad picks up a new interest almost monthly. One week he is learning how to whittle a spoon with wood from the garden and the next he is perfecting sour dough or making a clay pinch pot. All the while, whenever he picks up a new hobby, he never loses complete interest in the others, going back to them now and then when he feels like it.
He enjoys the calming effect of following each process through, step by step, as well as revelling in the finished product and his new found skill.
There is something wonderful about learning a new skill. The moment you can master the craft and move from learning, to simply enjoying the process is a great feeling, and totally worth the perseverance.
Why should we limit our creativity and curiosity to one hobby, one interest?
Benefits Of Multiple Hobbies
Aside from hobbies, applying for a creative job today means being as versatile as ever. An artisan, for example, must be highly-skilled at their craft whilst also being a business person, proficient at marketing themselves and their work. In our modern creative industries, having a variety of skills is not just an asset, it’s essential.
Your hobbies can be related, such as pottery and painting or hiking and biking, or wildly different. Olympic diver Tom Daley caught the attention of the nation as he sat knitting a union jack cardigan and a case for his latest medal on the poolside at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 (although you might argue Olympic diving isn’t just a hobby).
We often change from one activity to another as our needs shift and it can be helpful for mental well-being, to not only have hobbies, but to have different interests that we can call upon when we need them. Creative hobbies help us with self-expression, reducing stress-levels and boosting our endorphin levels. Active hobbies have a long list of benefits including reduced anxiety and depression, boosted memory and improved sleep.
An Amateur And Proud
Whether you are a serial hobbyist or not, what matters most is that you have fun and love what you do. So it is OK to create imperfect projects, to fail at things, and embrace being an amateur. Don't wait until you are the best out of the 8 billion people on the planet at something to enjoy it!
So next time you are tempted to think of yourself as a “Jack of all trades..,” consider completing this often unfinished phrase:
“A Jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better, than a master of one!”