Might as well get comfy – this is kind of a long read. But I think it will be worth it. Yes, this is a crafting website, and usually I just post tutorials on how to make cutesy crafts. But one thing that is very important to me, that I think we need to talk about is all the good that comes from starting a creative hobby and sticking to it. (Even if it’s not the kinds of crafts I post here.)
If you’re new around here, let me get you up to speed: I am a createaholic. Other than the 76 pounds of dogs I have laying on my bladder when I’m in bed, the idea of spending my day making something new is my biggest motivator to get up in the morning.
And that’s probably a good thing because I live in the Midwest and it’s too cold for any reasonable person to get out of bed here for several months out of the year. But my triple-socked feet aren’t what I wanted to talk about today, so let’s just get to it.
Shortcuts to The Important Stuff:
- 1 Reasons To Have a Creative Hobby
- 2 Getting Started
- 3 Staying on Track
- 4 join the simple creative living email list and…
Reasons To Have a Creative Hobby
1. Creative hobbies can help with stress.
Now, I’m not saying every creative activity is going to take all your worries away. Try telling that to a high-level marketing team or a journalist with a deadline if you want to see how far back a person can possibly roll their eyes.
But a creative hobby is another story. And that’s because it allows you to shift the focus from all the usual things causing you stress over to something low-stakes that you enjoy.
Because even ‘easy’ creative hobbies like journaling or cross-stitching take some level of concentration. If you’re making a project from a pattern, you have to pay attention to instructions and transfer that into what your hands are doing. If you are creating something from scratch, you are the one making every little decision about bringing your creation into the world. You choose methods and the material and the colors and everything else.
Even just that little bit of focus into doing something you enjoy is beneficial for taking your mind off of everything else and give you time to recharge.
2. Learning a new creative hobby is good for your brain.
Well, we all know that learning almost anything is good for your brain. It can help form new neural connections, grow new brain cells, and even slow down cognitive decline in old age. And with most creative hobbies, the deeper you get, the more there is to learn.
Learning a creative hobby has the added benefit that you will be exercising parts of your brain that don’t get as much activity on a daily basis.
This is what is technically referred to as your Big-Brain Double-Whammy.
3. Creative hobbies can be good for your health too.
OK, not every creative hobby is going to get you up and moving. Lots of them involve a lot of sitting. But to be fair, most people are spending their extra time on the couch anyway.
But for those of you looking for a hobby that doesn’t take place sitting on your butt, there are plenty of more active hobbies that have the same bonuses of being creative. Like…
- Gardening/flower gardening
- Nature Photography
4. Having a creative hobby gives you a reason to take a break.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt guilty for relaxing because there’s so much for you to be doing, and you feel like if you stop, you’re never going to get your work done.
Now imagine me typing this with my toes because both my hands are raised.
A creative hobby gives you something you want to do that’s still productive so you can appease the guilt, but that doesn’t drain you the same way regular obligations do.
5. Having a Creative Hobby could help you sleep better.
There’s actually a few reasons you might sleep better with a creative hobby:
- That lowered stress we talked about earlier.
- The sense of accomplishment when you finish a project or finally figure out how to do something that was giving you trouble.
- If your hobby is not computer related, you might be getting less screen time before bed which will help you fall asleep faster.
6. Creative hobbies are a good outlet for self-expression
What is more ‘you’ than something that came from your hands and your imagination, and your skills? That’s one of may favorite things about creative expression. You could give 1,000 people the same prompt and none of them would make exactly the same thing.
7. Creative hobbies can give you a confidence boost.
Especially if it turns out that you’re naturally good at it and you get all that positive feedback right from the start. But for the rest of us mortals who have to work at it for a while, that confidence boost can come from:
- Actively making the decision to keep working at it anyway
- Making progress on your skills
- Finishing projects
8. Creative hobbies can help you become more patient.
Practice makes perfect, right? Well, yeah, but not always right away. Some of the creative hobbies you might want to try, like drawing or painting are going to take a lot longer to get skilled at than others.
(And then there’s watercolor painting, which takes a lot of patience to begin with since you have to wait for each layer to dry before you can keep working. But it’s so worth it when it turns out right.)
Luckily, ‘practice makes perfect’ works on patience too.
9. …and more disciplined.
Maybe this should be a part of the patience section, but I really think it deserves its own. Discipline is a huge skill that transfers into virtually every aspect of your life. But I don’t think it gets enough attention.
You can have all the patience in the world and still not get better at your craft without the discipline to work at it consistently. Learning discipline through a hobby is easier because you are generally going to be more motivated to work at something you enjoy.
10. Creative hobbies can boost your problem-solving skills.
Say you’re a digital artist. You just got an idea that you are head-over-heels in love with and you have to start drawing it up RIGHT NOW or you might actually explode.
But then you get to your drawing program and it’s just not coming out how you want. (I’ve been there. I feel your pain. Go drink a glass of water, you’ll feel better.) So what do you do now?
This idea only exists in your brain. There is no YouTube tutorial on how to get this particular piece of art onto the computer from in your head.
So you break it down into the basic skills. Maybe you need to learn some new ones. Then you figure out which of them you’ll need for this project, and how exactly to apply them. You draw on your past works. You adjust.
And piece by piece, your new work comes together.
No matter what type of creative hobby you have, or what medium you use, there will ALWAYS be some kind of issue like this. And if you love what you are doing, you will problem-solve the heck out of it until you get the results you want.
And then you will transfer those problem-solving skills into every other part of your life, and it will be awesome, and you will probably eat ice cream or something. I don’t really know. You do you, man.
11. You might actually get better at your job.
As if the last four reasons alone wouldn’t make you better at your job anyway. But a creative hobby, and all of these great effects, can help make you happier.
And happy people just don’t shoot their husbands. And happy people are generally more productive and more efficient.
12. Creative hobbies are usually inexpensive to get started.
Most creative hobbies can be started with just a few basic supplies. That’s perfect when you’re just testing the waters and trying to find a hobby you enjoy. You don’t want to spend a ton of money on something if you’re just going to drop it in a week or two to try something else.
Even photography is more accessible now. Smart phone cameras have come a long way in the past decade or so and now you can take nice clear images and get some skills under your belt before you decide to drop a big chunk of change on a DSLR camera.
13. Creative hobbies are also pretty low risk…
…compared to some other hobbies like gambling, investing, and some multi-level marketing ventures. As long as you can control your supply spending, you’re never going to lose money from it.
14. Having a creative hobby can actually save you money.
Although it is fun and it really can be a good money-saver, I’m not just talking about DIYing all of your Christmas gifts this year. The skills you learn from a creative hobby can help you save money on everyday expenses.
- Learning how to sew means you can patch worn clothing or upcycle old pieces into something fresh.
- Basic woodworking skills will help you repair a piece furniture instead of having to buy a new one
- You can make home decor much cheaper than buying it.
- Learning to cook well will save a lot on date night and often result in eating something that you like better anyway.
This particular list could go on for pretty much forever. But you get the picture.
15. You might even be able to make money with your creative hobby.
There is a reason that every “12 Side Hustles to Make You Money From Home” and “9 Ways To Earn Extra Money This Month” type post you see on Pinterest has ‘selling your crafts’ on the list.
There are LOADS of ways you can do it. And on Etsy, which is one of the most popular ways, shop owners made a combined 3.93 billion dollars in 2018. So it’s a pretty big market.
There’s also selling on social media, at craft shows, setting up your own website, getting commissions from people you know, stocking at local stores and lots more.
And if you’re already having fun making things anyway, what’s the harm in adding a little cha-ching to the mix? Especially if the extra money can pay for the supplies for your next project. Easiest decision ever.
16. You can meet new people with the same creative hobby.
Fact: people who make stuff love to talk about said stuff. That’s why there are so many online and in-person communities dedicated to makers. And talking about a common interest is a great way to make friends. Then you’ve got someone to bounce ideas off of and get help when you’re stuck.
Try searching “[your hobby] forum” online and see what you can find. Or just go the easy way and look on Instagram and Reddit. Or try “[your hobby] [your city]” to find a local group or event to check out.
17. Sharing your creative hobby is a good way to spend time with your family or friends.
Working on a project together with your spouse or teaching a friend how to make their own is a fun bonding activity.
Craft nights were invented for a reason, people.
Even the kids love to be included in your project-making. (Obviously, some hobbies, like woodworking, might be too dangerous for children.)
18. Your creative hobby can help your community.
There are lots of ways your creativity and skills can help your community. Like…
- Donating finished projects to local charities/fundraisers.
- Teaching classes
- Volunteering to share your hobby at a local nursing home
- Helping local groups with their creative projects – maybe helping with set design for the community theater, or painting a mural at the park.
19. Your work might be the reason someone else learns a new skill.
Alright, this one probably doesn’t benefit you so much, but altruism, am I right?
And maybe I’m a little biased toward this point since it’s basically the whole reason I started Simple Creative Living.
I really think that being creative has huge benefits. And that inspiring someone else to try something new feels SO GOOD. Please don’t make me say double whammy again.
The Just Plain Fun Benefits: a.k.a. Miscellaneous
I will admit that some of these next ones may not be reasons to start a new hobby, but they certainly are benefits.
21. Creative hobbies can lead you to experiencing a state of flow.
If you haven’t heard of ‘flow,’ it’s essentially the act of getting so in-the-zone that you forget everything else and just exist in the moment.
Even if there are no mental health benefits to that, although I suspect there are, it’s still a pretty cool thing to experience.
If you want to read more on flow, here’s what the Mayo Clinic has to say about it.
22. You will add a new layer to your identity.
This is definitely the hardest one to put into words. Probably because identity is so abstract and everyone thinks of it in a different way.
If you asked my husband to describe himself, he would tell you what he does for a living and other objective facts about himself (like his age and the fact that he is colorblind).
I, on the other hand, would tell you more emotional tidbits. Like the fact that I am very close with my family or that Halloween is my jam.
But either way, hobbies make it onto that list. He plays video games. I make things.
And other people will see that as part of you too.
23. Having a creative hobby makes you more interesting.
Yeah, I’m piggybacking a little on the last one here. You can call this list only 33 reasons if you want. BUT…
I think there’s a little more to it than other people seeing you as being a photographer or being a singer.
You will have more stories and thoughts and ideas and people generally like asking about them.
24. You may discover a hidden talent or skill.
Yes, you might try hand-lettering and discover you’re a natural at hand-lettering. Wouldn’t that be awesome! (This is totally passive agressive. No shame. Because I SUCKED at hand-lettering when I first started. But I got better.)
Or maybe not. But another cool thing that might happen, is you realizing you have a related talent. For example, in my statistics class in college, I did not discover that I was secretly a boss at statistics. I discovered that I was really good at guessing exactly how many minutes were left until I could leave 🙂
I hope that when you find your hidden talent, it’s a little more beneficial to you than mine! Maybe you’ll start journaling and discover you’re secretly good at doodling. Or you’ll take up nature photography and learn that you’ve got a knack for composition.
25. Gift giving becomes more personal.
You probably won’t end up making all of the gifts that you give. Depending on what type of crafting you do, it can get a little expensive. And others can take a really long time to finish. (I’ve been crocheting my mom a blanket for the past six years.)
But the ones you do make will be SO appreciated.
Getting a handmade gift says that the person who made it cares about you enough to spend time actually creating something that’s sole purpose is to make you happy.
26. You can create family heirlooms.
I’m probably a lot more sentimental than most people. But I think overall, an heirloom that you spend hours upon hours making, and that you love deeply because of that (you know, labor of love and all…) is more valuable to pass down to your children than some fancy thing you bought.
Especially, in my opinion, a blanket.
Memories of being warm and cozy in a blanket that their parent made will be attached to that blanket every time your child uses it. Even when they’re grown and wrapping their own children in it.
If this idea is making you feel all warm and fuzzy, consider Quilting or Knitting/Crochet as a new creative hobby.
27. Creative hobbies are a good way to get out of your comfort zone.
Maybe for you this just means trying a hobby you wouldn’t normally think to try because it doesn’t sound like ‘your thing.’
For me, doing something I’m not innately good at is out of my comfort zone. I think most people would be with me on that. So starting a new hobby even though you might not be immediately good at it can be a worthwhile challenge.
28. A creative hobby can be a good way to get you out of the house.
(Practicing your hobby at home is a good reason to stay in too, if that’s what you’re looking for.)
I wouldn’t say leaving the house is a struggle for me. I’m not that introverted. But we are definitely homebodies here. So for people like me, it’s good to have an excuse to get out a little more.
Sometimes it will be as simple as making a run to the supply store. But sometimes there’s a craft show or a fair in town that you will want to be a part of. Or maybe you found a class you’d like to take to learn a new skill for your hobby.
Personally, I’ve always wanted to take a couple’s cooking class. They look so fun.
There are also hobbies that are inherently done outside of the house. Joining a theater group or sand/snow sculpting, for example.
29. Some creative hobbies can help you stay more organized.
I can’t be the only one who loves making lists. But can you believe my husband actually out-loud scoffed at me when I mentioned that the other day? I mean, the nerve…
But I know that other people do to. It’s fun. Now take your list-making love one step farther and try out bullet-journaling. If you haven’t heard of the Bullet Journal, it’s a combo planner/journal/organizer/whatever else you want it to be. And all you really need to get started is a notebook and a pen.
Some ideas for your bullet journal:
- Habit trackers and goals
- Party Planning
- Meal planning and shopping lists
- Books you want to read
- Favorite quotes
Bullet journals can turn out to be SO cute. And once you’ve been doing it for a few years, it’s fun to look back into past journals to see what you were up to and what your journaling style was like back in the day.
Side note: I’ve tried out tons of other creative hobbies and these two are the only ones that made me more organized. All the rest left me with more messes than I started with (but in a fun way). Blogging is the only other one that helped but that’s because you literally have to be in order to get anything done.
30. You can enter local competitions and win fun prizes.
There are competitions for EVERYTHING. And some of them have some really cool prizes. You could win anything from new supplies to trips depending on who is holding the contest. Lots of contests even have cash prizes.
Check out local fairs, libraries, and attractions for contests that aren’t online. One of my favorite fall places (its a pumpkin farm/cornmaze/craft market) started doing a pumpkin sculpting contest last year. So you can always find something!
31. You will learn to look at things from a new perspective.
I mean think about it, you’re going to be making something that doesn’t exist yet. You can’t do that if you’re always looking at things exactly the way they are right now.
32. You can personalize your home decor.
I absolutely LOVE my Cricut. It’s quick and easy to learn, and you can do so many different things with it. And one of the big things that Cricut users like to do is vinyl decal their name onto everything. (Guilty.) But that’s not all I’m talking about here.
When I say you can personalize your decor, what I mean is that you can make your own home decor that is exactly tailored to your own tastes, not pre-made in mass to cater to lots of people’s tastes.
If you’re into abstract painting, you might paint something bright and happy to go in your dining room. Or something calming to hang on the wall in your bedroom.
But the thing is – what’s bright and happy to you, and what compliments the rest of your decor, and what makes YOU feel something looks different than what that would like like for anyone else.
If you have a creative hobby that you love and practice and get good at, you can make gorgeous home decor based on exactly what that looks like for you.
Some good hobbies if you’re into home decor/interior design: painting, woodworking, candlemaking, flower gardening/floral arranging, photography, and yes, papercrafting with a Cricut or Silhouette machine.
33. Creative hobbies are one of the best ways to use up your copious amounts of free time.
No, wait. Hear me out!
I get that most people have actual obligations that take up most of their time. What I’m saying here, is that one day you might find yourself with way too much time on your hands. Maybe (but hopefully not) you get put on bed rest. Maybe you’re retired.
Whatever the reason, if you suddenly find yourself with a lot of free time, having a creative hobby makes that transition a lot easier.
34. It is SO much easier to write a wish list.
Maybe people don’t struggle with this like I do, but every time someone asks me for a gift list, I’m like “Um, I don’t know. I’ve been putting off buying new underwear for a while?“
And my birthday is only like two weeks before Christmas, so December is a struggle. (I know, this is like a truly awful problem to have. How do I possibly make it through?)
But when you have a creative hobby, there’s always more courses you want to take or more supplies you’d like to have.
And bonus, if you talk about and share your hobby enough, people may stop asking you altogether and just get you supplies. Ah, that’s the dream.
So which reason is your favorite?
Mine is the stress relief and mental health boost for sure. I had a pretty severe depression and anxiety disorder that started in high school and got worse over time until I was having panic attacks that left me sitting on the floor shaking. I’ve been on a few different medications for it and they definitely helped. But since I’ve taken action and committed to being creative every day, I’ve actually been able to get off the meds and I’m happier and more productive than ever.
Choosing a Creative Hobby
Now that I’ve convinced you (at least, I hope I have) that a creative hobby is what’s missing in your life, there’s only two things left to do. But (heads up) they’re big things: Getting started, and keeping going.
Don’t worry though! I’m not planning on leaving you high and dry!
I’m currently working on a FREE Creative Hobby Guide of over 125 creative hobbies to choose from, including what supplies you need to get started, where to find beginner tutorials, and which ones are best for a tight space or tight budget.
If you’re interested in this creative hobby guide, sign up for my email list below to be one of the first to know when it comes out.
In the meantime, take a look through my Pinterest page. It’s got boards dedicated to several creative hobbies, with links to tips and tricks, tutorials, patterns, project ideas and more. (Don’t forget to hit follow!)
Getting your Setup Set Up
Next you’ll need to get your supplies and your space ready.
In my Creative Hobbies Guide, I’m putting together a list of the basic supplies needed for each hobby, including recommendations for specific ones from myself and a collection of other experienced Makers.
But if you’re itching to get started and don’t want to wait until it’s published, then in my experience (and I have started a new creative hobby so many times), there’s two different ways to go about getting the supplies for your first project:
- Find a project online or in a book that you would like to make and get the supplies that are specific to that project.
- Get the supplies that call out to you then go home and make up your own project based on the supplies you have.
Typically, for beginners, I would recommend option 1. Especially if you are just starting to try to be more creative, the options can be overwhelming.
Take a look at my latest blog posts for inspiration. I try to post at least one new project a week. If you’re looking for project inspiration on a hobby I don’t currently write about, Pinterest is THE way to go.
Interested in where I get the best prices for high-quality crafting supplies? The truth is, I personally spend a lot of time looking for deals and testing out different products. Join my email list below and I’ll keep an eye out for you too. You can even let me know if there’s something particular you’re looking for.
One last tip for supplies: Don’t forget any tools and storage items you might need.
Your Creative Space
Chances are you don’t have this huge extra space in your house dedicated to a hobby you haven’t even started yet. It’s cool. Most hobbies you don’t really need a dedicated space for anyway. I’m a full-time creator and I still store all of my supplies in mismatched plastic tubs in the garage (but the garage is attached so it’s okay) and I do most of my projects on the couch or at the kitchen table. If that’s what you’ve got, that’s what you’ve got.
But I will say, especially for new makers, having your supplies somewhere you will see them every day is HUGE for sticking to a creative hobby. It’s like keeping the veggies at the front of the fridge so you’ll use them before they turn moldy. Except here, your supplies don’t go bad. Your motivation to keep working at it goes bad. And that’s when you lose all your progress, or worse, give up altogether.
But I’m still here to help! Keep reading.
Staying on Track
Okay, I’m about to drop a couple truth bombs (Maybe not bombs. You probably knew these already. They just kind of suck. Let’s call them Truth Stink-Bombs.)
1. Sticking to a new hobby through the learning stages is hard.
If you’re one of those people (like me) who is super motivated for three days at a time but then you lose momentum and put it down for a month, you’re not going to make any real progress. Consistency is key.
You’re also going to need to learn to be a little easier on yourself. If you’re starting as a beginner, you’re going to make beginner mistakes. You are going to learn from those mistakes, but you are going to make them nonetheless. Try not to beat yourself up about it.
2. Sometimes the people in your life aren’t going to be as excited about it as you are.
When I first decided to leave my job to be a maker full time, I only had three people that I could really talk to about it. EVERYONE else told me I was making a mistake and wasting my time. (Luckily, my husband was one of those three.)
Granted, starting a new creative hobby on the side is not as drastic as quitting your job. It’s not going to be alienating in the same way. But if you’re excited about it, you’re going to want to share, right? And it will be very disheartening when people don’t understand your excitement.
Even if (most likely) it’s just because they legitimately don’t understand what it is you’re excited about.
For example, if I told you I finally figured out how to connect Google Search Console to my Analytics page, you might say “oh, cool” but you don’t really understand my excitement (unless you’re a blogger) because you don’t know how much of a struggle that can be or how important it was for me to learn.
But I’m not going to let that get to me. Instead, I’m going to find someone to share with that understands how exciting it is.
And (spoiler alert) if you’re serious about sticking to your new hobby, living a creative life, and getting those 34 sweet benefits we’ve been talking about…
Then you and I are on the same team. (It’s a winning team.)
Because I 100% believe in you and that you can do this. And I want to help. The only thing I need you to do is join the Simple Creative Living email list. (Don’t worry, no spam. I personally write all the messages and I’ll never give out your information.)
I know what it’s like trying start a new creative venture, and where all the roadblocks are. And I want to help you avoid them. If you subscribe, you’ll get:
- tips for staying on track,
- inspiration for new projects,
- mini challenges to keep your creative spark alive,
- email-exclusive freebies
- the low-down on the best supplies and where to get them on sale
And best of all, you get me! (A person who’s super excited about your decision to live a creative life, and wants to make sure you get the most out of it.)
join the simple creative living email list and…
You’ve got 34+ perfectly good reasons already to get a creative hobby in your life ASAP. But I’m going to give you a bonus reason right here and now.
35. Giving yourself a creative hobby to learn gives you a chance to set a new goal and absolutely CRUSH IT.
I can’t wait to hear from you!
Don’t forget to Pin for Later!