Side Hustles

I do a lot of crafts here at the library. A lot. But they’re for work…even though they don’t always feel like work. The strange thing is, I don’t do a lot of crafts in my downtime, possibly because I get my fill at work.

Recently, however, I had the urge to do something at home, just for fun. Fun! There was absolutely no reason to do it, no theme, no “end” project…I just picked up my glue gun, got out the paper and crafted. Now, the little shadow box is sitting on a shelf in my work room. It makes me happy to look at it, not because it’s perfect or inspired or “worth” anything, but because I wanted to do it.

When I came across a post by Ann Friedman called “Not Every Hobby is a Side Hustle”, it really resonated with me. These days, we are almost conditioned to find something that we do outside our work lives that might be “worth” something other than just good feelings. She talks about making deviled eggs–the best, most creative deviled eggs ever–and only because it makes her happy. What a concept!

Making money from a project also takes the joy out of just creating in the first place. The moment you commit to selling something, it must become the best thing you can create. That puts pressure on us to be perfect, and with that goes the joy.

So stop and ask yourself, when was the last time you created something simply because you want to make it? And how did it make you feel? I had such a great day making my shadow box forest, and the time went by so quickly I couldn’t believe it. While I might not do it again for a while, the good feelings will stay with me for some time. You should try it!

(And hey, we have a monthly adult craft club. Why not join us to create just for fun! Give us a call to register….257-2702. We’re meeting on Monday!)

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It’s not too late!

Maybe you think it’s too late to work on that knitting project you’ve been putting off. Okay, it might not be ready for Christmas, but it’s never too late to do something crafty.  And this time of year (if we ever get chilly temperatures around here), is the perfect time to cuddle up and knit. We have lots of great books at the library to help with a new or ongoing project.

This is just a sampling of some of the great new (and older) books we have on the subject of knitting. There are plenty of books to help kids knit, too.  Of course, if knitting isn’t your thing, we can help you start something else creative…..with books on woodworking, painting, writing, origami….whatever tickles your fancy. Drop by and see what we have or take a look at our online catalog!

Fiction or craft book?

Are authors taking things a little too far these days?  I came across a book in our pile of fiction that is ready to be covered and noticed an interesting  note on the cover of the book, which got me to thinking about fiction and authors. Are they mixing their fiction with their own hobbies to get more people to read their books?  Seems like it, and while it’s not a bad idea, I question the value in it.

The book that caught my attention was Elizabeth Bright’s Deadly Greetings, marketed as a card-making mystery. The main character runs her own struggling card-making business and finds herself in a new location where mysterious things begin to happen.  The book revolves around the idea of card-making, but of course, the mystery should be the central idea.

What really got me thinking about the combination of fiction and hobby was the little note on the front of the book which said : “includes card-making tips”.  When I opened the book and started flipping through, I noticed that the only card-making tip I could find was a short half-page on the art of embossing cards.  While the idea was interesting, the author didn’t go into much detail at all. Anyone who picked up the book hoping to get a few tips to help their fledgling hobby or even hoping to start a new hobby, would not be very far ahead.  Readers would be better off going online or taking out a book on the subject of card-making if they really want to know more.  So why did the author bother at all?

There are many different authors writing fiction and including their hobbies, including Diane Mott Davidson who also writes mysteries, but hers are centered around a character who owns a catering company.  She often includes recipes in the backs of her books, but does anyone really try them?  Again, anyone looking for a new recipe might be tempted, but you won’t get many people actually using them, so why include them?

What if non-fiction authors decided to do the same thing, but in reverse?  Maybe a cook-book author would write a chapter or two of fiction and include it in the back of the book.  Or a craft book might include poetry or short stories penned by the author.  Would it make these books more desirable?  I’m not so sure, and in fact, I think it might turn a few people away, so how do fiction authors get away with it?