The famous playwright , critic and political activist George Bernard Shaw has stated in his play, Pygmalion , that “ Happy is the man who can make a living by his hobby .” and one can feel the truthfulness of Shaw’s statement in his/her own life. The word “ hobby “ is derived from the 16th century term “ hobyn “ , which means “ small horse and pony “ . By 1816 , the word “ hobby “ was introduced in to the vocabulary of the English people. With the passage of time this term came to be associated with recreation and leisure.  In today’s world with the overloaded information and chaos , pursuing passion as a career is a boon of life. There are certain benefits of choosing our hobbies as our profession. The recent research published in the Journal of Vocational Behaviour has explored the fact that if a man spends more time on his hobby then it can increase his confidence level. When we do something that we love , it is obvious that we can easily achieve success by the continuous growth in our area of expertise. If we pursue our passion as a living , then we can have the opportunity to be self – employed , without the need of working under the rule of someone else , that gives professional freedom . The overall joy and satisfaction that comes from the harmony between work and life helps us to live a mentally and physically healthy life. The hobby of writing not only reduces stress , helps in communication with clarity or develops productivity but it also offers a pool of jobs : Copywriter , Content Writer , Blogger , Journalist , Travel Writer , Newspaper Columnist , Author , Poet , Novelist , Speech Writer , Screen Writer , Technical Writer , Book Editor , Web Content Writer , Social Media Specialist etc. But it is also important to research thoroughly before choosing a career based on hobby.

  • Introduction of Writing as a Hobby :

       There are many people who love to sit with a pen and paper for hours because it is their passion to play with the words to create masterpieces. As Anton Chekhov says , “ Don’t tell the moon is shining ; show me the glint of light on broken glass “, the task of creation is not easy. But those who have the gift of creating sensation among readers by their writing , they have the great opportunity to make their hobby as a source of income. As Wikipedia defines , Creative writing is any writing that falls outside the boundary of professional , academic or technical forms of literature , identified by an emphasis of narrative craft , character development , and the use of literary tropes or with various tradition of poetry and poetics. Short stories , poems , novels , biographies , screenplays  , dialogues , novella , flash fictions , graphic novels , blogs , children’s books are the different forms of creative writing. Apart from creative writing , there are many forms of academic writing like report writing after a thorough research , article writing , journal writing etc. Technical writing is those types of writing that are associated with technical communications , like hardware , robotics , software , aeronautics , chemistry , medical , forestry , engineering  – the large field of technology. So , a person with the hobby of writing , either creative writing or academic and technical writing has a great opportunity to grab a dream job related to their hobby.

  • How Writing can be Pursued as a Career :

       According to Vladimir Nabokov , “ A writer should have the precision of a poet and the imagination of a scientist .”  A passionate writer needs to improve his skills if he wants to make writing a medium of his daily bread earning. In the era of digital India , the Internet , online publishing and social media has transformed the publishing industry as well as the entire communication industry. This cyborg generation has led to the emergence of new writing careers along with the old traditional options : web editing , editing , media production . These changes have created a more competitive marketplace for young talented writers with digital skills. As we have discussed earlier , two types of writing career : formal and informal needs two types of writing training. Formal training includes a bachelor’s degree with an emphasis in creative writing , while others may choose a journalism degree. Beyond attending a traditional degree program , prospective writers can develop a portfolio while they attend school. They can submit pitches to publications , writing articles in magazines to get experience and familiarity with the publishing industry. Furthermore , informal writers in fields such as business, marketing , healthcare , technological can benefit from completing an internship.  Whether it is copywriting or journalism,  future professional writers can develop their craft and skills by completing an internship programme. For individuals who want to become authors , poets , story writers, their path includes writing a story , novel , anthology of poems , attempting to secure an agent to sell their works to the publishing industry. This path is time consuming and challenging but it provides fame and money.

  • Degrees and Institutes to Acquire the Writing Skills of a Professional Writer :

There are certificate courses , associate degree courses , bachelor’s degree courses , master’s in writing courses and doctoral programmes for students who want to work as scholars in academia and educators in universities . 

Certificate Course in Writing :

This course is a short – term instructional programme that teach students applied writing skills in multiple areas from fiction to feature film writing , from television writing to grant writing. This is a short term course that requires from five to eight classes. Higher secondary examination qualified from any school is the basic requirement for admission in this programme.

Associate Degree in Writing :

This course is an industry – focused academic programme that provides students with practical knowledge they can use to transition into an entry level career or continue through the bachelor’s degree programme. This curriculum is designed for nurturing the creativity of students to build writing proficiencies they can use to become a professional writer or an editor. Students study the basics of literary theory and learn professional skill development in technical writing , business communication , advanced composition and editing. 

Bachelor’s Degree in Writing :

This programme requires four year full time study to expose students to general education coursework and classwork in their chosen writing specialty. This program teach students how to critically analyse written texts and use workshops to help students to improve their writing skills with the fundamentals of skills required across writing careers in non-profit groups , publications , government organisations , entertainment , media and business. Many creative writing programs also include internship programs that allow students to gain real world experience.

Master Degree in Writing :

These programs include M.A in rhetoric and composition ,  M.A in literature with writing emphasis , M.A in creative writing , M.A in professional writing. In these different programs , students learn academic methodologies , composition and written communication. Students after completing these programs can move into an assortment of writing careers – from authors to journalists , from bloggers to educators , from media specialists to professional writers. 

PhD in Writing :

The most advanced studies of writing is requires four to five years to complete. PhD programmes are competitive as they offer students the opportunity to conduct original scholarship and position themselves for tenure – track positions at the university level. 

Along with these there are different online courses and MOOC courses ,so that students can develop their writing skills from any place at any time. Coursera , edX , Udemy , Harvard University online courses , British Council , Alison.com , Swayam , Swayam Prabha , Stanford University etc. open online course offers different courses with certificates related to academic writing ,English communication skills , Better business writing in skills , Writing and editing skills , Advanced writing skills , Writing in the sciences skills , Writing English for Journalism , Content Writing skills that are provided by the professors from different national and international recognized universities.

There are different institutes and universities that offer writing courses :

Within India  and Outside India  :

  1. Xavier Institute of Communication ( Mumbai )

Course name : Creative Writing Workshop ( with certificate )

Duration : 8 session of 2 hours each 

Fees : 8000 INR

  1. British Council of India ( Kolkata and Delhi )

Course name : Creative Writing Programmes ( with certificate )

Duration : 2 Months ( total ) with classes for 2 days in a week

Fees: 13000 INR with 600 INR for entrance exam

  1. Symbiosis Centre for Distance Learning  ( Pune )

Course Name : Diploma in Creative Writing ( with certificate )

Duration :1 year ( materials will delivered to the student in his / her home by post )

Fees : 35000 INR + INR 1200 for application form

  1. Indira Gandhi National Open University ( Headquarter in Delhi with study centres in different states )

Course Name :  Diploma in Creative Writing in English ( with certificate )

Duration : 1year ( materials will delivered to the students in their house by post )

Fees : 3800 INR + INR 200 registration fee

  1. Oxford University 

Course Name : Getting Started with Creative Writing ( with certificate )

Duration : 3 months

Fees : £ 495.00

  1. Wesleyan University

Course Name : Creative Writing Specialization ( with certificate )

Duration : 1year 

Fees : Rs. 3,744/ month 

  1. University of British Columbia

Course Name : How to Write a Novel : Writing the Draft ( with certificate )

Duration : 6weeks

Fees : $ 295

  1. University of Michigan :

Course Name : Writing your First Novel

Duration : 127 hours 

Fees : free ( INR 2216 if you want certificate )

There are other institutes like Sri Aurobindo Centre for Arts and Communication , Delhi that offers a short term course of editing , media writing , scripting style etc. In Jawaharlal Nehru University , the post – graduate students of English literature are offered creative writing courses as a part of their curriculum. There are many online platforms where students can submit their writings to improve their writing skills:           monomousumi.com , writersdigest.com , zorbabooks.com , critiquecircle.com , campnanowrimo.com ,  fictionaut.com , internetwritingworkshop.org , storyaday.org , wattpad.com , youngwriterssociety.com , writingcooperative.com are the best websites for writers of any age , any experience level which provide with great tips , advice , feedback , encouragement and support for the writers. 

  • Jobs that are Offered to the Writers:

  Writing degrees span a variety of concentrations that includes professional writing , business writing , creative writing , technical writing , science writing . By specializing in these fields students can pursue numerous jobs.

Jobs for a Technical Writer :

Various professional fields could be opened for a technical writer including engineering , manufacturing , translating complex information about products and systems into instruction manuals , technical documentations and other materials. Collaborating with product designers , project managers to organize content plan for specific audiences etc.

Jobs for a Science Writer :

 Multifarious fields of writing about advancements and discoveries in astrophysics , biotechnology , medical advancements , chemistry , climate change , genetics etc. Science writers turn the esoteric into something accessible for all kinds of readers. Websites , magazines , journals recruits the science writers as the writers often position news into larger historical context.

             Jobs for a Screenwriter :

 Screenwriters are self – employed freelancers who develop and write screenplays for T.V shows and films. Thy have the unique understanding of constructing narratives and connecting them to larger frameworks. Screenplays are the pillars of shooting a film so they are the master plan of producer , director , actors.

           Jobs for  a Copywriter :

Copywriting is a vast employment field from healthcare to advertising , copywriters create content with an agenda such as advertising and public relations material. They create copy for audiences in multiple formats including white paper , email , blog posts , fliers etc. They are content marketers who used to sell products , convince readers.

         Jobs for a Creative Writer :

The majority of poets , novelists , story writers work as freelancers. Many freelancers begin their career with their writing published in magazines,  different writing competitions . After being published , they start to gain popularity and talented writers publish their own books of poems , novel, short stories etc.  Entrepreneurial poets also try to sell original poetry that has been painted , printed , carved onto a product , such as t-shirt , coffee mug and other items.

    Jobs for a Content Writer :

The responsibilities of content writers includes researching industry – related topics , writing clear marketing copies to promote products / services , preparing well – structured drafts using content management systems. So , a content writer gets the job in digital marketing fields ,web  content developing, research and report making etc.

  • Recommended Books for Improving Writing Skills :

Best Books for Formal Writing : ( Novelists, Short Story Writers , Poets , Dramatists etc.)

  • The Writing Life : Writers on How They Think and Work by Marie Arana
  • Plot & Structure : Techniques and Exercises for Crafting a Plot that Grips Readers from Start to Finish by James Scott Bell
  • Getting into Character : Seven Secrets a Novelist Can Learn from Actors by Brandilyn Collins
  • The Practicing Poet : Writing Beyond the Basics by Diane Lockward
  • The Daily poet : Day – by – Day Prompts for Your Writing Practice by Kelli Russell Agodon & Martha Silano
  • Writing Poetry to Save Your Life : How to Find the Courage to Tell Your Stories by Maria Mazziotti Gillan
  • How to Write Short Stories and Use Them to Further Your Writing Career by James Scott Bell
  • Creating Short Fiction by Damon Knight
  • The Art of Dramatic Writing : Its Basis in the Creative Interpretation of Human Motives by Lajos Egri
  • Wonderbook : The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction by Jeff VanderMeer
  • Reading Like a Writer : A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them by Francine Prose
  • Writing Down the Bones : Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg
  • The Writer’s Journey : Mythic Structure for Writers by Christopher Vogler
  • The Emotional Craft of Fiction : How to Write the Stories Beneath the Surface by Donald Maass
  • Meander , Spiral , Explode : Design and Pattern in Narrative by Jane Alison
  • Romancing the Beat : Story Structure for Romance Novels by Gwen Hayes etc.

Best Books for Informal Writing : (Content creators , Bloggers , Technical Writers , Science Writers , Screenwriters, Academic journal writers etc.)

  • Everybody Writes : Your Go – To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content by Ann Handley. 
  • The Successful Author Mindset : A Handbook for Surviving the Writer’s Journey by Joanna Pen ,
  • The Scribe Method : The Best Way to Write and Publish your Non-Fiction Book by Tucker Max and Zach Obront , 
  • The Content Code: Six Essential Strategies for Igniting your Content , Your Marketing and Your Business by Mark W. Schaefer , 
  • The Idea Writers : Copywriting in a New Media and Marketing Era by Teressa Lezzi , 
  • Six Figure Blogging Blueprint : How to Start an Amazingly Profitable Blog in the Next 60 Days ( Even if You have no Experience ) by Raza Imam , 
  • The Marketer’s Crash Course in Visual Content Creation by Martin Bruno 
  • The One Hour Content Plan : The Solopreneur’s Guide to a Year’s Worth of Blog Post Ideas in 60 Minutes and Creating Content that Sells and Hooksby Meera Kothand.
  • Technical Writing Process : The Simple , Five Step Guide that Anyone can Use to Create Technical Documents such as User Guides , Manuals and Procedures by Kieran Morgan.
  • The Insider’s Guide to Technical Writing by Krista Van Laan.
  • Managing your Documentation Project by Joann T. Hackos
  • Save the Cat ! The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need by Blake Snyder
  • Screenplay : The Foundations of Screenwriting , by Syd Field
  • The Oxford Book of Modern Science Writing by Richard Dawkins etc.
  • Bird by Bird : Some Instructions of Writing on Life by Anne Lamott
  • Becoming an Academic Writer : 50 Exercises for Paced , Productive and Powerful Writing, by Patricia Goodson

       Enjoyable leisure activities , taken in the aggregate , are associated with psychological and physical measures relevant for health and well – being. Hobbies provide relief especially during times of stress and in the recovery period post stress. Hobbies act as “ restorers “ that facilitate the individual’s recovery from stress by replenishing damaged or depleted resources. The hobby of writing helps in the catharsis of our repressed emotions , anxiety , anger. Writing as a hobby is the primary step of beginning a career with the gift of writing , making it a source of income. Today, in the age of globalisation, writing is not limited to the traditional forms of novel or poetry writing. Along with this, there are huge opportunities in the fields of web content , marketing , blogging , technical writing , science writing , script writing , report writing related to journalism, article writing in academics etc. It is a blessing when the hobby what we love becomes the medium of earning our daily breads – those who have this opportunity are considered the lucky persons of this earth – so , why not to consider yourself one, among those lucky persons?

A hobby a day keeps the doldrums away “ – Phyllis McGinley

By Priyanka Basu, Hoogly, West Bengal

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