It's become a dirty word.
"I'm not a professional, or even an amateur. I'm a hobbiest."
I don't know about you, but growing up the word hobby always had a "lesser than" connotation. People would say things like "Oh it's great you like to do that. It makes a great hobby. But what are you going to do for a career? To make money". It was all very patronizing. And then the strong internal sense of responsibility comes along and puts hobby in a stranglehold. Because really, who has time for a hobby? There's too much to do. Too much to accomplish. There are bills to pay.
The problem with this thinking is that you end up eliminating something that feeds your soul. Something that make you feel alive. And in turn, that effects your work life, relationships - the whole of your life.
I think sometimes Art is put into this lesser than category by well intentioned adults when speaking to kids. After all, the world doesn't need any more "starving artists". Perhaps art should be kept as a hobby. (Which there's nothing wrong with, as not everyone should become an artist as a career). I know far too many people who like to create art in some way, but it got sequestered to the back burner of hobby only to no longer see the light of day. Perhaps, once in the proverbial blue moon, it comes out and is met with comments like "You know, I really should start doing this again. Perhaps someday..."
I love the way Austin Kleon describes a hobby it in his book "Steal Like an Artist":
It’s so important to have a hobby. A hobby is something creative that’s just for you. You don’t try to make money or get famous off it, you just do it because it makes you happy. A hobby is something that gives but doesn’t take.
Kleon, Austin (2012-02-28). Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative (Kindle Locations 334-336). Workman Publishing Company. Kindle Edition.
Even though I'm a "professional" artist, there are some art forms for me that I consider hobbies. And I have learned the art of doing them just for me. And I'm much better for it.
What about you? Do you have a hobby (or hobbies) that you keep up with regularly? What makes you feel alive?