If I don't write I go mad

The other day a well-meaning relative set my blood boiling by referring to writing as my “hobby”.

So, is my writing a hobby?

NO. It’s a full-time job I’ve been working at since 2002 and hold a masters degree in. It’s not something I do in my spare moments like crotchet, it’s something I do every day, that fills my thoughts and propels me through life.

It’s a calling, something I am compelled to do even against my better judgement on how best to earn a living. It is a passion to make sense of the world and life itself through words, a yearning to create something of beauty from the chaos of experience.

As I tell my students, writing is not something you choose, it chooses you. You know you’re inescapably a writer when something dreadful happens in your life, and instead of just living it, being there in the moment and grieving or crying or whatever it is normal people do in a crisis, you are thinking of how to write it. How to wrap words around it and make it better. What title it should have.

I don’t know if this is a blessing. Sometimes it feels like more of a curse. If I could turn the switch off, I would. Even just for a moment. But then I’d turn it back on again, because for better or worse, I love it.

So, no, dear cousin, writing is not a hobby. It’s who I am.

What about you? Is writing your hobby or something much more than that?