Cross-posted at Fan To Pro.
I am all for using your hobbies professionally. Indeed, I think the ideal life is one where your hobby and job don't exist – what you'd call "hobbies" and "jobs" are so fused you just have a "life" where the things you like make you money and give you social involvement. To me the holy grail of professional geekdom is like that – a life with no outside (or inside).
A flaw that afflicts some progeeks, and that many don't speak to, is that it's too easy to slide into the idea that just because you're a fannish professional, just because what pays your bills also is the reason you have an extensive action figure collection, that you have to take everything seriously. In short, every "fun" thing has to be calculated to some financial benefit.
I'm here to say that's wrong on two counts.
First, just because your hobbies and jobs are fused, it doesn't mean everything has to have some kind of calculable benefit, such as a monetary value. Many things are worth doing for non-financial reasons, and to see dollar signs in everything is to turn things into "jobs" and loose the sense of fun.
Secondly, let me also note there is a place in life for fun, and even for dumb fun. In fact, let me praise dumb fun.
It's OK to work on epic video games then go and play a mindless game of violence and relax. It's OK to compose brilliant reviews and news articles, then go read trashy romance manga (or even really good ones). It's fine to enjoy your horror films before you compose that epic website. There's no problem in having fun, even totally dumb fun.
We all need to relax, and sometimes we need to take our brains further off the hook than at other times. Even if you live an ideal lifestyle where there's no difference between job and hobby, you need to relax and get away from your own personal rat race – even if you like the rats.
It's fine because it refreshes you and resets you, because now and then you need to step away, and you'll often find new insights.
It's OK to have fun because you can bond with people – in fact if you're a hardcore progeek (like myself), you can fall into talking "business" too much because it IS fun for you – but not necessarily for other people.
In fact, and I advise giving this a try if you're too uptight, I go out of the way to FIND dumb fun or just plain fun. I actually find things that would be guilty pleasures and go out of my way to enjoy them (I have a weakness for shojou anime myself, especially romantic sword-and-sorcery). This way I actually just go and ENJOY myself.
So, never let go of fun.
- Steve, aka X