Day 18 of Supposed Crimes 30-day challenge: What are some of your hobbies? What do you enjoy about them?

Hobbies are those things you do when you’re not working, right? Something to relax or be creative, or just doing something different than your day to day, right? I know some people do gardening, canning, crafts, and various forms of art. But me? None of those things hold my attention very long.

My downtime from work or school has always been spent reading and writing. Even when I was writing or editing for a living (newspapers, magazines, teaching) I spent my off-hours writing fiction.

I have always tried a little of everything; that’s just the way I was taught growing up: try it at least once. I mean, as a little girl I took one year of ballet lessons, and one season of gymnastics. As I grew older I did a season of softball, then tennis, and took riding lessons for three years. But while those were all enjoyable, I still spent more time writing and reading.

I do think my “try it at least once” attitude makes me a good researcher for writing my stories. It also helps when editing for others because I can often say I have first-hand experience in X field to be able to edit for the terminology or techniques. I also have work experience in a variety of fields, having done temp and contract work for a variety of companies for a half dozen years, collectively speaking. Even when “just the secretary” or “just the tech” visiting the office, I’m able to observe and analyze and listen as core business is being discussed and see “big pictures” or ways through problems because I’m not caught up in “this is how it’s always been done” or protecting my “territory.” I don’t offer suggestions unless asked, but it is always in my mind, and so it ends up in my books, or as knowledge I can provide to a writer I’m helping.

So, maybe I should say my hobby is observing life. I do like to capture pictures — not usually of people though, just places and scenes. I also enjoy the relaxation that comes from having a different experience. When I travel, I start with only a minimal itinerary and let random inspirations guide me in the moment. My spouse and I have been known to wake up at home in the summer no particular plans in mind but by mid-afternoon we have driven halfway across the state, stopped at several museums, a winery or two, and had interesting local eats. Then we realize we can’t get home by the same night. We call home to arrange for the dog’s care and spend the night in a hotel or motel in a random town. Then we take half the next day exploring the farmer’s market that sprang up in the town square and finally eat lunch at a different kitschy local eatery before driving home after noon.

I posted this yesterday to my social media:

Three beaches in four days. I experienced different sights and sounds at each one. That’s quite rejuvenating, IMHO, the best thing for any hobby to accomplish.

~ Lara

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