5 ways to keep building on your hobby

I started learning bookbinding in early 2021. After having done it for a while, it’s easy to start feeling “what next”? How do you continue to learn and grow in your hobby? Feeling jaded after a certain point is true for all hobbies, not just for bookbinding. Once you’ve got a hang of the basics, you want to figure out what to do next or you get bored.

Here are 5 ways in which I think you can take your hobby to the next level. I’m trying a few of these, the others are merely ideas. But I think each of these will help!

  1. Take classes: Classes can be in the area of your hobby, or something adjacent. Learning something new, in person or online, can be a great way to give your mind something new to chew on. You can sign up for courses that help take you to a more advanced level in your hobby, or you could sign up for classes that help broaden your skill set into adjacent areas. In my case, I’ve signed up for 2 courses in San Francisco:
    • Course on leather working: Leather is a material of choice for most book binders. It’s not an easy material to work with and so I’ve signed up for a class that teaches the basics of working with leather. I’ll be learning how to make a leather wallet.
    • Pottery classes: Bookbinding has helped me explore my creative side better, and gotten me interested in making other interesting art work myself. I therefore decided, why not give pottery a try? 🙂

Whether you’re into bookbinding, cooking, coding, photography, painting, writing, etc., you can always take classes to continuing growing and expanding your horizons.

2. Upgrade your equipment: When starting out, you usually end up using basic equipment. At the beginning, you’re not quite sure whether a hobby is just of temporary interest to you, or whether it’s something that would stick around for a while. You therefore don’t want to spend too much money on it just yet. However, if your hobby has stuck around for a while, a great way to continue growing is to upgrade the equipment or tools that you use for your hobby. Buy better machines, better paper, better materials – whatever you’re using, buy better and more advanced versions to help yourself do more.

3. Try to monetize your hobby: Another way to continue building on your hobby is to find ways to monetize it. Now – this route comes with a note of caution. You should do this only if you don’t feel this creates additional pressure for you – a lot of people do find this creates a sense of pressure for them and they stop enjoying hobby. This is not a good outcome and unless you’re leaning on your hobby as a source of income (in which case, it ceases to be a hobby), it’s best that you do this more for fun more than anything else. That being said, getting paid for something that you’ve made with your hands can be a massive ego boost!

4. Try new materials: You don’t have to keep using the same tried and tested materials in your hobby. Experiment with new materials and ingredients. If you’re into bookbinding, try using wood instead of leather for your book covers. If you’re into cooking, try using ingredients from a different cuisine. If you’re into painting, try using a different medium. If you’re into photography, try shooting using film instead of digital. You get the gist.

5. Share your hobby with others: Now that you’ve learnt something, why not share it others? You can blog about your hobby, post on Instagram, vlog on Youtube, or even start your own course on how others can get started with this hobby. As you teach, you’ll meet new people with similar interests and begin building a community around yourself. Sharing your passion with others can be a great way to continue to keep lean into your hobby, while picking up new skills around how to reach an audience around a specific topic.

Do you have other ideas to keep building on your hobby? Drop them in the comments below! 🙂

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