things i’m amateur at


  1. person who engages in an activity or pursuit, such as an academic discipline, sport, artistic endeavour, for pleasure rather than financial gain;
  2. person who lacks significant experience or skill in a particular activity;
  3. person who admires an activity or has a certain love for it, without the pursuit of monetary compensation.

I am, or have been, an amateur at a number of things. I think you have too. When did we start to disinherit the amateur soul?

In my life, I have been an amateur at a number of things: photography, writing, investing, blogging, sewing, hydroponics, French language, ink painting.

All this means that I do these things in private. Most people have no idea I’ve done them, probably because they’re usually so short-lived. In keeping with the more tainted definition of amateurism, I can’t do any one of these pursuits with great skill, and have never made any money doing any of them.

The concept of 10 000 hours terrifies me.

When I begin one of my amateur episodes, I have great hopes, and for a short time, I am convinced that I’ll make any one of these pursuits into a career. Then, it gets hard – the hydroponic nutrient balance is off; my stocks start to hemorrhage; those French conjugations get too tricky.

My amateur’s soul, like yours, is infatuated with its lack of skill, its impatience to be better, now.  The amorous part of amateurism – the doing for the sake of doing – is lost on me. Without affection for what I do, I enter into a loveless enterprise that runs its rocky course, until one of us ends it.

I have decided that I need to be a more loving amateur. There’s no use in spurning one’s novice pursuits because of an expectation for them to be immediately excellent.

Always starting, never finishing, only ending.



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