Hobbies? Stop your dilly-dallying mister, I haven’t seen the light of day for the last three months. Come to think of it, did the apocalypse happen, is humanity finally gone?
I can barely muster up the courage to open the damn door once delivery is knocking on the door, don’t tell me about no travelling or exploring the world, tired of hearing that in every damn article…
No, this isn’t going be one of those article that urge you to travel or explore new places, we’ve all got it at this point, travelling is cool, yadda, yadda, yadda…
What I’m going to do instead is leave you with options that anyone can partake in with just a simple internet connection and a few basic social skills.
The latter part might be the only issue at hand, as content writers aren’t known to be the most sociable creatures.
Don’t despair, as all the points in the article direct you to hobbies or vocations that don’t require extensive knowledge of the human psyche, and you’ll mostly be surrounded by people with similar attitudes and views on life.
Without further ado, I proudly present to you the five hobbies every content writer should at least try out at some juncture, as the salubrious effects these leisures have on your wellbeing aren’t anything to scoff at.
1. Playing A Few Games Of Chess Every Week
I can already imagine the horror in your eyes; ”I don’t like things that involve mathematics or any kind of logical thinking!”
And I used to share that viewpoint alongside many others.
That’s why you should never judge a book by its cover as only once I got into the game, did I realize how deep the game actually is, and speaking of depth, it is on a visceral, emotional level.
It is an intuitive game that requires abstract thinking, an insurmountable amount of patience, creative thinking and problem-solving abilities.
All you have to really do to get started is go through the basics, which are very easy to pick-up.
That is what makes the game so appealing to millions of players, you can be a part of the ruckus in less than ten minutes!
If you are still not convinced (I know that I wouldn’t be, especially when considering how easily us content writers stretch words like ‘creativity’ or ‘fun’), reflect on the following fact:
Although a chess board has only 64 squares and deep-set rules on the movements of every piece on the board, once a few moves are played, theory books have little say in what to do next and all the weight comes cracking down on you, the player.
This is where your intuition and cognitive abilities are put to the test.
Did I mention that a mere pawn can turn into any figure that is on or off the board just by reaching the opponents side?
Can you begin to imagine what sort of possibilities, combinations and sacrifices come into fruition to turn a little pawn into a strong queen or rook?!
Getting started is as easy as signing up at one of the many websites that offer a playing platform. My personal suggestion goes out to chess.com as the player base is quite high and there is quite the disparity when it comes to skill cap.
That means that you’ll be able to pair up with someone that is also a fledgling to the game, creating an exciting match of two urchins clawing it out!
Don’t be mistaken; A chess match won’t take up hours of your time, you won’t be playing for the grandmaster title and there will be little-to-no delays in moves played.
Hence, it is best to select a match where both you and your opponent have ten minutes of time to think everything through and once you’re comfortable with the in-game mechanics, you can freely alter the time at will.
Gleaming at all the research that has been done in support of chess increasing creativity and abstract thinking, it should definitely be high on your list of priorities if you are serious about jazzing up your content writing.
2. Short, Brisk Walks
Instead of urging you to close this article by suggesting rigorous exercise or a Gym membership, we’ll be doing something entirely different.
Nevertheless, physical activity won’t help much on its own accord if the bodily pain you’re experiencing is intercepting your concentration while writing content.
I believe that there are two types of people on this planet; Those that suffer from anxiety and those that thrive on it.
From my experience, content writers aren’t part of the latter group and that is completely fine.
On the other hand, closing yourself down in an ivory tower won’t do any good to your mental state, as you’ll always long for something you will never be able to reach.
This is the sort of catch-22 situation many content writers find themselves in and breaking free from it can be close to impossible.
Not only does it create a mental barrier of rigidity, but it also obscures all the things you have once enjoyed doing.
It narrows you down to a point where it starts consuming your own self, your personality or what’s left of it.
That’s where depression kicks in.
Considering the nature of our work, it can be quite handy to let the drones handle our groceries, and thereby never having to leave the safety of our confines.
And who the hell has the will or nerve to go our anyways? It’s so much comfier inside!
I’m here to tell you that I’ve been there, and I’ve done that; The walls will crumble, leaving you unprepared and naked in front of the entire world.
You’ll be crestfallen, every slight or insult will be interpreted as an all-out attack against the very core of your being.
You’ll feel disconnected and discontent as you are not a participant of the social milieu everyone seems to be so engrossed in.
You’re an outsider, an outcast, an illegal alien…
To get out of this sort of cocoon, many people suggest rigorous changes, a complete 360 upturn of everything and anything.
While the intention certainly is well-mannered, what these experts are completely overlooking is the fact that I haven’t left my house in the last two weeks and that my headspace is not really in ‘exploration mode’.
And it’s not like a content writer can simply stick to these newfound guidelines, as from the moment the orders start kicking in, we have to revert to our crystallized state.
In such a common scenario, it is always better to opt for something that can be done on a whim, without much forethought.
It also has to be something not too distressful, as you’ll simply say, ‘Screw you guys, I’m staying home!’ if it’s too revolutionary.
This is where I invoke the powers of short, brisk walks!
I will have days where ideas simply won’t come to me, I’ll be sitting there for hours on end with 50 words under my belt and another 5000 on the bucket list and it just gets so depressing.
You’ll start to doubt yourself, your chair, laptop, brain, epistemics and the barricades are looming high, tantalizing you from above;
You can’t break free.
At this juncture, it’s a toss-up between two options: Staying inside and going insane from the lack of productivity or lobbing yourself out of the house and into the fray!
And believe me, you’ll find it easy to go with option number two, as another moment near the computer and a psychotic breakdown isn’t out of the question.
So, what do you do once you’re outside? Walk. Just walk.
Don’t bring any sort of electronics with you, don’t even bother with the time.
Let the environment sink in, cherish the vast array of colors.
If you’re familiar with the terrain and are myopic at the same time, leave the glasses at home and go all-natural!
What we’re essentially trying to do is to get you out of the prison that we built around us and introduce you to something new.
Bring the child out of your purview, let it live for another moment.
You don’t have to socialize or pick the time when you decide that it’s that time of the week again.
Just go out and walk.
How long? As much as you want to. And time isn’t an issue, you’ve left that part of the material realm back at home.
If twinging questions start coming your way as in say ‘We’re wasting time man, orders must be finalized until *insert time here*’ simply remind yourself that nothing would have changed if you stayed at home.
You would be ‘wasting time’ anyways.
I’m not going to quote any scientific studies or offer any sort of evidence that this helps, but even on a rational level, getting the blood moving can’t be too bad for your muscles and not to mention the increased amount of oxygen delivered to your brain.
Drop everything and go for a walk.
You’ll know when.
This is by far my favorite hobby of them all. I don’t know where to start if I’m to be honest.
Let’s first draw the common grounds between the two activities, content writing and debating that is;
-You have to support a cause which you may or may not resonate with
-You have to come up with authentic arguments to support that cause
-Your arguments have to have sustenance and be comprehendible to the common layman
-They have to be engaging, based in reality and feasible
-You may have to twist the truth or exaggerate in order to make something appear true
-You have to put yourself in other people’s shoes or argue on things you had no prior knowledge on
-You will find your morals, ethics, scruples and culture challenged more often than not
These are the main similarities and I’m sure that there are many more, but that is beside the point.
The beautiful thing about debating is that it allows an individual to break their fear of public speaking, translate their written word into an audible narrative and lastly, help him sell himself to the world.
The last item on this list is of particular interest to me.
Whether you are at a job interview, date, business lunch or in litigation, the ability to dominate your opponent (or interlocutor) is of the utmost importance.
It implies intelligence, confidence, creativity and diligence- Even if all these items are only ostentatious in their objective reality, it works.
There’s a silver lining and it’s your job to find it, otherwise you might end up appearing snobby to the people around you.
A friend of mine recently scored a high-yielding job at a Fortune 500 company. He had no prior records or any sort of vast experience in the field, just a college kid fresh out of the woodwork.
Did debating alone land him that spot? I doubt it, but among the five-hundred and something that applied, he was among the select few that were given the green light.
Coincidence? I don’t think so.
Furthermore, powerful people such as Ted Cruz engaged in this noble pursuit and used debating to join the upper echelons of our society and there’s no reason why you or I shouldn’t at least try and leverage it as much as we can.
Now that we’ve got the what’s and why’s out of the way, let’s get to the how’s.
Debating itself is multi-layered and there have been quite the few divisions among the craft, leading to there being multiple forms of debating.
Here are the most popular ones: BP (British Parliamentary or just parliamentary, these are interchangeable according to your geographical position) debating, mock trials and courts, impromptu debating, extemporaneous (timeless) speaking and Australasia debating.
I won’t go much into each of them individually as that would make an eBook out of this article but here are the basics of what each and every of them have in common.
-There are two opposing factions, commonly monikered the Government and the Opposition
-Every faction has a ‘leader’, also known as the guy that speaks first and introduces the debate from their perspective
-Every debate has a topic, a hot issue that must be fixed in some way
-Participants are given months or minutes (dependent on the style of the debate) to prepare their constructive
-Most of the times, one side (the government) will defend the status-quo while the other side (opposition) will strive for a change
-The first speaker sets the constraints of the debate and defines the terms for both teams, this has to be done objectively or the debate won’t make any sense (there won’t be any debate)
-While one speaker is on the podium, others are to be silent*
*unless you, as an opposing faction, offer a POI (Point Of Information)
-A POI is basically you having the ability to interrupt your opponent’s speech and tackle one of the arguments that he laid out
-You can only offer a PUI if your opponent permits it
-Judges score your arguments and counter-arguments (the rebuttal of your opponent’s words) with a top-down point system
-Speakers are limited by time, ranging from a minute to fifteen or even thirty minutes. Once again, depending on the type of the debate
That’s basically it. If you want to read more about debating or if you’re really intrigued by the above, I suggest that you read this free eBook to grasp the basics in a more stalwart manner.
Besides all of the aforementioned benefits of debating, here are some more that aren’t strictly tied to debating, but are a byproduct of the sort of environment you will find yourself in if you do decide to pursue it.
1) Allows You To Travel Cheaply
Since every city has their debating organization and most such town congregations have yearly tournaments, they open their gates to the entire world.
That means that for a measly entry sum, you’ll be able to explore and entirely new country, debate and meet lots of new people.
2) Allows You To Come Out Of Your Shell
Let’s not pretend that you’re not anxious among regular human beings. Despite the odd quirks or features you embody, you’ll find that you’ve entered a world of weirdos, outcasts and recluses.
This might seem gloomy at first but think about it for a moment; A lunatic among lunatics will appear and feel normal, am I not right?
I’ve seen tens of students with crippling anxiety turn into outgoing social butterflies.
It’s certainly possible and you’ll find the confidence in your words rise accordingly with your skills in debating.
3) Allows You To Be At The Crux Of A Melting Pot Of Cultures, Religions…
I mean sure, you can accomplish all of that with travelling alone but to see a Pakistani, a Serbian and an Aussie get drunk and bicker about something meaningless, it’s something truly unique to debating.
Also, as people have a reason to talk to you (after all, you bond after debates), you’ll be able to candidly ask questions about different sort of behavior cues you find interesting in other cultures.
I could list more but you get the general idea.
Becoming part of your towns debating class is pretty easy as they will most likely be accepting new members with open arms.
Just join one of their meetings, this will literally be the hardest part of the entire debacle.
The reason behind that is because many debating clubs do struggle with upholding their member count.
I don’t know, many people see debating as a nerdy, uncool, weird thing to do.
The epitome of a loser, I guess?
I’ve got rid of those anxieties by realizing that other people have different conceptions of what constitutes fun for them and by that logic, if something suits me, I’ll do it as long as I don’t harm anyone or break the law.
4. Goofing Around In Paint
You didn’t expect this one, did you?
The problem with content writing is that while it is an artform, a very precise calling that sucks a lot of life force out of you, the one thing it definitely isn’t is creative.
I’m sure that many brows will be raised by the last sentence and I understand the reaction, but as far as I’m concerned, there is nothing inventive about content writing.
You’re basically reverberating something that someone has already written or said, just painting it in on an entirely new blot of paper.
While being a content writer does require abundant amounts of creativity on its own, you’re oftentimes so constrained in your writing, that you’ll leave most write-ups feeling like a depleted robot.
That’s why, after every soul-sucking article I’ve to write, I open up paint and truly let my freak flag fly!
Here are two of my favorites:
This one was after a particularly daunting topic.
I would never, in my wildest dreams, write about something like that if I hadn’t been duly compensated.
Emphasis on the duly.
This one brings rueful memories; I’ve had to complete ten-thousand words in one day, it wasn’t my client’s fault, I’m just a procrastinator.
Basically, I’ve been searching for something that has no rules, appropriations, obligations or code of conduct.
Because that’s what creativity should be, unshackled, omnipotent, unconstrained.
This is my way of venting after a long day in the salt mines and I believe that it will suit you too, just give it a try!
I mean sure, there are better options on the Internet, but Paint will never leave you hanging in a storm and you never have to pay a penny or watch an ad!
5) Reading Fake News And Satire Websites
Even though debating on its own will lead you to think more deeply about the issues we face as a society, there is this shrouded layer of thought dangling on the fringes of our culture that nobody entertains.
I’m talking about abstract lines of thought such as ‘Archaeological Dig Uncovers Ancient Race Of Skeleton People’ or ‘Johnson & Johnson Introduces ‘Nothing But Tears Shampoo’ To ‘Toughen Up’ Infants’
While these quips might force a laugh or two out of us, they do something much more important; Shatter our current purview, forcing us to expand our mind, increasing our creative scope and lastly, incentivizing us with new ideas and connections.
This sort of limitless form of speech or as I like to call it, ‘true creativity’ enables us to truly use ALL of our imbued words and create something truly unique.
It doesn’t care about vulgar language, racial tensions, cultural differences and so on and so forth.
Quite coincidentally, it points out the meaninglessness of the quarrels and issues we are entertaining ourselves with these days.
It’s mind-expanding and mind-blowing.
So, how does this benefit you in any way as a content writer? Didn’t I claim that there isn’t anything unorthodox about content writing?
That might be true, but my intentions are far more sinister.
You see, the way our brains work during our writing is mostly by association. That is the reason behind the saying ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’
Let’s say that you are working on an article that has to do about ‘preferable clothes during the summer’.
When we hear about summer, we think about the beach, nubile bodies, the heat, fun, parties, café-bars…
And here’s where it gets interesting;
Your choice of words and thereby the colorfulness of your write-up is inhibited by ‘the summer’
Even though you might have a plethora of suiting words in your vocabulary, you will be constrained by that one projected image of summer in your brain.
The fact that you’ll be using ‘warm’ and avoiding ‘cold’ words in the article is out of the question, but we should be more concerned about all the neutral words that will be completely left in the gutter!
Let’s make things clearer by giving you a relatable example:
You will say ‘As the dog days of summer knock on our doors, we have to ensure that we are properly clothed for every occasion that…”
Although nothing is wrong with that sentence, the underlying way of getting there is what’s bothering me.
This means that, in my opinion, this sentence and the narrative that will follow is perfectly constituted and that my options on whether or not this is the best sentence out of the lot is never questioned.
Why is it never questioned? Because it is the only sentence, the only tangent in my mind, the only option!
This is exactly one of the many disparaging reasons why many content writers feel robotic and mechanic, they essentially are as their creative scopes are limited not only externally but also internally!
BUT, if I had read an article like Tick Scientists Confirm 2017 Summer Will Be Best On Record, I would have also associated summer with pesky mosquitoes, creeps and unwanted smells (I didn’t do that at first glance) and therefore, a warning gesture in the likes of ‘Depending on our country of residence, ensuring that our clothes aren’t too revealing will not only keep the mosquitoes at bay, but also make us less susceptible to various microaggressions…’
See that? An onion pasquinade turned into a warning about mosquitoes in our summer article and then into foreshadowing possible perverts unwantedly peeping, catcalling or touching (mosquitoes do that too!!!) our bodies*!
*It is presumed that the article is written for a predominantly female audience
This is the sort of creativity I’m talking about and one that is needed in abundance when content writing!
To wrap things up, I’ve read around ten articles on the topic of various hobbies that content writers should undertake and not one failed to mention travelling.
That was reason enough to challenge myself to do one without it and I think that I’ve done my due diligence.
Glancing over what I’ve written leaves me satisfied, I really feel this article to be immensely valuable to any present or future content writers that stumble upon it!
Now that we’ve come to the end, the rest is up to you.
My personal suggestion is to give each of the listed hobbies at least five minutes of your precious time and see what your visceral reactions say.
If you have any questions about any of these or additional options that you might be pursuing, please feel free to share them below!
Hearing them would put in quite the jolly mood!
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