Last month, I asked the question “What is leisure?” in my October 10 post. We know that the concept of leisure can have a multitude of meanings, from free time from obligations, spare time, non-work, etc. Leisure has three important functions: relaxation, entertainment and personal development.
A form of leisure that many people find themselves enjoying is “serious leisure.” This is the systematic pursuit of deep satisfaction through an amateur, hobbyist, or volunteer activity that participants find so substantial and interesting that, in the typical case, they launch themselves on a (non-work) career centered on acquiring and expressing its special skills, knowledge, and experience. Serious leisure is further defined by its six distinguishing qualities: perseverance, sense of (non-work) career, substantial personal effort, durable benefits, ethos and social world, and personal and social identity (Stebbins, 1992).
Gosh, this sounds a lot like blogging!
What exactly is blogging? The word “blog” originated as web log or weblog, a journal of personal reflections, opinions, experiences and comments written online. According to sources, the first blog was published in 1999. Blogging allows people to express themselves in writing while allowing people to interact with each other. It is used in a variety of ways, whether to create content for business, practice and publish a variety of works, or just keep a journal of thoughts via a structured Internet site.
Bloggers now know that creating and maintaining a successful blog is very similar to this notion of serious leisure. What may start out as a simple wish to write and post stories and thoughts, can end up involving a lot of time, whether to change the look of the blog website, or research and create thoughtful content for readers. Many bloggers spend 2-4 hours (or more!) per day just for the care and feeding of their “fun” blog.
For me, the desire to start my blog came from my idea to write about my professional experiences on some particular subjects. It was hard work and so inconsistent that I almost gave up. Luckily I stumbled upon the WordPress Blogging 101 challenge in September and I retooled and refocused my blog to what it is now. Writing this blog now takes a surprising amount of time, but it is fun and fits almost into the serious leisure category. My next goal is to blog about subjects relating to my consulting business, to draw people in as clients.
You decide if your blog is a leisure pastime or work. Even if it combines both elements, if it is enjoyable and satisfies you in some way, then blogging is a form of leisure for you. If it takes a lot of you time and you still love it, then welcome to blogging as serious leisure!
References: Stebbins, R. A. (1992). Amateurs, professionals and serious leisure. Montreal, QC: McGill-Queen’s University Press.