Your Art Isn't Just a Hobby. It's a Passion. // On Art, Social Validation, & Creation


One of the most irksome comments arising in conversations regarding art is someone's easy dismissal of my writing as "just a hobby," and I'm sure many artists who aspire to make a career out of it, whether in film or painting or whatever medium used, have encountered this at one time or another. There's a sense of belittlement and tinged awkwardness behind their expressions staring back, yet all one can do is nod politely and continue on.

It's frustrating to encounter these kinds of comments for one reason: it derives a person's artistic ability and presuming there isn't any way to become successful. Yes, the art world is known for it's plethora of individuals trying to make a name for themselves and make a living out of their work. Outside the art sphere, an even greater populace looks down condescendingly, thinking artists, the "doomed and starving," don't contribute anything to society, which is a red flag.

Art provides light, insight, imagination, perspective, causing those who immerse themselves into it to have a better understanding. Art transcends into tangible silk with numerous facets. Art is traversal, subversive, and visceral, getting voices out there who feel the need to express it when they can't vocally do it themselves.


Most importantly, art is whatever a person wants it to be.

The thoughts kept resonating in my head as my family and I drove back from The Homey Boardwalk Town and the future of senior year laid impending on my shoulders. The greater fear of life after high school just paralyzes me. Now, I know for some bloggers, their parents allow them to live with them right after graduating high school to pursue their passions, and they are incredibly lucky to have that chance. For numerous reasons I can't elaborate on, it's not an option for me. My parents did give me a choice to support me in my future writing endeavors including potentially studying it somewhat in at the post-secondary level as long as I have a job that would help sustain me.

Does this mean I'm giving up my dreams as a successful published author? Not at all. I do understand where my parents do come from and how much of a struggle it was to move over here as a first generation Filipino-American where back where my place of birth had only a fourth of the opportunities I have here, and I am going to study something I'm incredibly passionate about doing. Going this route doesn't mean I'm giving up on my dreams. Going to university to major in something that isn't writing based doesn't make me less of a writer.



On that same token, just because someone is ahead of you in the art world, bulked up by accolades and publishing deals, does not mean that you are any less of an artist capable of success. I have writing friends who have won competitions and have been endowed some of the highest levels of national awards there is for those under eighteen, whereas I've only been acknowledged for a couple awards at the regional level. Of course, they started much before I did be regardless, the lack of success now does not define that I stink. Comparison is an ugly poison, dear friend. Over the years I've learned focusing on one's own progress instead of comparison, however tempting it may be to succumb to its clutches, help make tremendous bounds in spirit and progress.

The key to success isn't a MFA in Creative Writing, or becoming a Poet Laureate, my friends, but passion. Passion is the key to all things: to dreams, to relationships (both platonic and otherwise), the drive towards success despite the hardships enveloping when all you want to do is lay in your bed and weep. There are days when the winds howl salt scalding into open wounds and all a person can hear are painful howls coming from their mouth, days when the darkness takes toll and convinces this dream won't be fulfilled. The art world is a hard business, friend. It's one of the most brutal because it takes something so dear to one's heart and opens it up for all the world to see and people may not like it.

So keep going. Keep creating. Keep smiling and laughing and crying and feeling. Keep going during this NaNoWriMo, during this time of college applications. Our passions are the most draining things, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, but like the feeling of satisfaction that rolls over in the end, it's always worth it.

Have you had similar thoughts? Are you doing NaNoWriMo? Also, sign up for the Blogger Yearbook! Submissions are due by November 16th!



24 comments:

  1. You hit the nail on the head with comparing yourself! The most harmful thing you can do as an artist is to compare your art or journey with someone else. It's the worst! This is definitely something I struggle with A LOT. But pursuing writing in college is WONDERFUL. I just graduated college in May and am astounded at how much I have grown, changed and learned. You will go far! Keep that passion for writing going strong! :)

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    1. It’s amazing how much growth happens in several years! You may be “behind” someone, but the best thing to do is just to focus on your own journey. (And it turns out, the more you focus on your journey and prevent from comparing yourself, the more you’ll improve since all of that time spent fretting will be diverted back to what you love doing). And your a post-college grad, Erin? I had no idea! O.O

      xoxo Abigail Lennah

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  2. Beautiful post, Abby! My brother is pursuing an artistic career via a graphics arts degree. So far, he hasn't gone very far, but he's got that passion that you speak of.

    Catherine
    catherinesrebellingmuse.blogspot.com

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    1. Your brother will certainly go far.

      Also, GRAPHIC ARTS?!?!? Props to your brother. xD

      xoxo Abigail Lennah

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    1. Thanks, Grace Anne. <3

      xoxo Abigail Lennah

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  4. I have been very fortunate to have my family and friends always take my writing seriously. Though I have definitely gotten those "oh so cute. she thinks she'll be an author" looks from strangers. Grr...

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    1. You are incredibly fortunate! It’s annoying that some of my family members don’t even care that I write, however... And, right??? Those looks are the WORST.

      xoxo Abigail Lennah

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  5. This is so lovely. I think art is just as important as any other career, and I agree with you when you say passion makes all the difference. In my personal opinion, I believe that making a living out of photography, writing or any other form of art, is incredibly hard. I don't think many people make it and I wouldn't ever go for it, but that is because I don't have the passion you have, and that's how I know how important being passionate about something and working hard despite all the obstacles is.

    Again, absolutely loved this post.

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    1. I agree the same idea for passion incorporates into other facets of occupations, as well. I know for a fact many people are going into fields like engineering and medicine just because they make more money, but money doesn’t guarantee happiness. Some people end up changing majors and that’s just more money going down the loop. Why do something if you’re not interested in it?

      Thank you. ^.^

      xoxo Abigail Lennah

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  6. Such a beautiful post ❤❤ I feel so inspired and encouraged, thank you, Abby.

    I also get so annoyed when other people don't take my writing seriously. This guy once asked me what I wanted to be when I was older, and when I replied "an author", he stared at me and said doubtfully: " Really? You serious? You have to have a big brain for that. Well, good luck."
    I felt so despondent. It wasn't the nicest experience, haha.

    Amy @ A Magical World Of Words

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    1. Of course, Amy.

      “You have to have a big brain for that.” Un, HELLO??? I feel like book bloggers probably have one of the best chances at becoming an author because you notice the trends in books, and you’re able to analyze and critize what’s happening at a very detailed level. From there, you can see what works and doesn’t work for your writing, which makes you SO much better. Don’t let his words get you down, Amy! I honestly believe you will become published some day.

      xoxo Abigail Lennah

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  7. This is a beautiful post Abby!

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  8. I needed this. Thank you so, so much.

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  9. I like how you drive your point home about art and passion through this passionate post (which is its own form of art). It's powerful. And there's so much truth and encouragement here. Thank you! And all the very best with your plans for life after senior year. xx

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    1. Aww, thank you! I’m kind of dismayed by the lack of response since this was one of my favorite posts to write, but still— numbers are only one way to define success.

      xoxo Abigail Lennah

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  10. This is such a great reminder. I love how you mentioned that just because there are people that are better at you in an area, it doesn't mean that you aren't good. I think it's so true...almost anywhere we are in life, there will always be people less talented and more talented.

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    1. Thank you, Lauren. Yeah, I’ve had to learn this the hard way (it’s taken me most of high school to do this) but now I’ve let go of the notion, it feels rather liberating. This problem isn’t going to go away forever, so if it resurfaced, well, at least I know how to handle it.

      xoxo Abigail Lennah

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  11. 100% agree! My passion is art whether it be writing, literature, painting, music. "There are days when the winds howl salt scalding into open wounds and all a person can hear are painful howls coming from their mouth, days when the darkness takes toll and convinces this dream won't be fulfilled." Beautiful words, and very true. <3 Oh, and out of curiosity: what's your chosen major?

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    1. Wow, I guess people love a lot of my quotes in my post lately... I guess I’ve been a rather poetic spell as of late! And UGH, painting is so therapeutic and I love it, whether it be watercolor or acrylic, but I do have an easel so painting is very limited.

      As for my chosen major, well... I’ve had an existential crisis over the past several weeks. For awhile I was cemented on doing Environmental Engineering. Working on focusing towards sustainable practices and sources such as hydro and solar would be fun (Okay, actually, there are detrimental effects to hydro which is eroision on the one of the sides of the dam), but that requires Physics which isn’t so bad. It doesn’t come naturally to me, though. I understand the concepts but give me timed questions and I’ll freak out unless I’ve done the kind of problem fifty times. It’s either that or computer science, which I would be happy doing, but I don’t want to spend my entire day working behind a computer screen typing in code, but I imagine myself possibly working for a big company of I go through with that, like Goodreads, Amazon, or Apple, maybe based in the Seattle area. I don’t know just yet, but luckily my schools do allow to choose two top preferences for majors, which isn’t too bad. Hopefully things will work out, though!

      xoxo Abigail Lennah

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  12. THIS. THIS. THIS. If I had the chance to wrap this post up and put it on a t-shirt, I would.

    "art is whatever a person wants it to be." So beautifully raw. Thank you for this. You are truly amazing. <3

    xx Kenzie

    p.s. hehe, make that 47 blog comments to reply to. XD

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  13. ^^^^^ can I get a thousand Amens. Yes. Art honestly just *is*. I can't tell you how much this resonates with me-- when you're just sitting there buzzing with all of these /things/ that you just have to put into words, colours, notes, whatever it is. It's such a liberating thing to just sit down and *art*. Lovely post, thank you for sharing. <3
    xx
    steph
    strictlystephanie.blogspot.com

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Hi, friend! Just remember to keep comments clean and kind, or I will have to delete them. Thank you so much for commenting on my blog-- I cherish every kind word sent my way.

Stay strong and wonderful!
xoxo Abigail Lennah