Those of us who work in marketing know it’s an interesting, fast-paced, challenging, and mostly fun industry to work in. We’re always learning and solving problems. We get to influence business and culture and express our creativity in a bunch of ways. And we get to meet and collaborate with smart, funny, interesting people.
But creating something for your client or your company is totally different than creating something for your yourself. Whether you’re cooking, knitting, painting, writing a novel, or making cat videos, having a creative hobby is the cat’s meow. Because we all need a way to express our creativity outside of the office. Here’s why:
1. It gives you the freedom to fail.
A creative hobby lets you try new things and make lots of big ugly mistakes—at home, on your own time, when nobody is looking. Even your biggest fan in life won’t like the first clay pot you make, but as you keep practicing, you’ll stretch your limits and get more comfortable taking risks. As a bonus, you might find yourself getting $45 for a plate at the pottery fair.
2. It lets you be weird.
Related to #1, getting in touch with your creativity on your terms, without restrictions, rules, or criticism is a freedom most of haven’t experienced since we were kids. With your own personal hobby, you can go back to that time before social narratives told you to stop being weird and start being normal. I’m talking to you, interpretive dancers.
3. It keeps you occupied while quarantining.
When that fever sets in and your COVID test comes back positive, you’re going to be stuck at home for a while. If you’ve got a creative hobby, then you’ve got something fun to do between naps. If playing drums is your thing, you can practice that new song while the kids are at school. Brain fog may hamper your progress, but at least you’ll have something else to think about besides how miserable you feel.
4. It makes you better at your job.
Your boss will like this one. A hobby can help you practice and refine your on-the-job skills. If you paint, you’ll develop a better eye for color which can help when reviewing the new website design. Writers can use their skills to spice up emails and blogs. An amateur actor will probably make better presentations. Overall, you’ll improve your problem solving and idea generation skills. Off the clock, creative hobbies can help you recharge and relax, making your brain ready for another endless day of Zoom meetings and team check-ins.
5. It improves your quality of life.
There’s no doubt about it—pushing yourself in new ways and developing new skills will make you more well-rounded and interesting to those around you. (Just think of all the TikTok possibilities). You’ll experience personal satisfaction as you develop new skills by pushing yourself in new ways. You might even make some new life-long friends over your shared love of origami.
6. It works your brain.
Like other intellectually stimulating activities, creative hobbies are great for your noggin. Depending on what you’re creating and the stage of creation you’re in, you’ll be exercising different parts of your brain. The act of creating something forces you to focus on the task at hand. If a singer misses a note, it’s not the end of the world, but I shudder to think about the carnage brought on by a distracted chain saw sculptor.
I know what you’re thinking. You already put in a lot of hours and use up a lot of your creative energy on the job and there’s no time left to add anything new. But you know how exercise gives you more energy instead of less? It’s like that with creative hobbies. The more you get into it, the more you get out of it.
Not sure where to start? Ask Google or start this short article from The Muse. And if you’re looking to take your creative hobby further, check out this guide to turning your hobby into a career from StudyCorgi.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in 2018 when we thought pandemics were something that happened in another time and place. It has been updated in 2022 to reflect our new reality.