The Life-Changing Magic of Being a Dabbler

be a dabbler

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Being a dabbler is a great way to learn new things. It’s probably the way we’re all supposed to be. be a dabbler

I spent the weekend with a few of my favorite kick-ass ladies at our self-styled working retreat lovingly acronymed tcoyos.

We’ve been doing this for more than three years and, honestly, I don’t know what I did without it.

I’ve written books there, launched projects, laughed and learned so much.

One thing that really struck me this weekend was my friend Jackie saying that it’s so important for us to be willing to be a dabbler.

Why Be a Dabbler?

She’s taking drawing and watercolor classes right now, not because she wants to become super great at those things, but because it’s fun.

I have bought a bunch of knitting classes on Craftsy because I do some professional knitting. But I also have classes on cooking, sewing, photography and art, not because those are things I necessarily write about or do for a living but because they looked interesting and could teach me things I wanted to know about. Same with CreativeBug. So much random stuff.

It’s so important to be interested in things for no good reason.

We are allowed to make things just for fun or learn something with no intention of becoming an expert at it.

So take the fiction writing class even if you never really expect or necessarily want to publish a novel.

Learn to sew or bake bread or do woodworking just for fun.

Make stuff to give as gifts and resist the draw of every well-meaning person who says “Oh, you should sell that.”

Maybe you should, maybe you shouldn’t.

(Some people just don’t have the temperament/willingness/whatever to sell their stuff, and that’s fine.)

But you definitely shouldn’t just because other people think you should or because you feel like you need to justify the cost of all the supplies you bought so you could learn how to do it.

Do Stuff for Fun

Just like we should never stop learning in other aspects of our lives, we should never stop learning in our creative lives.

We are allowed to try things out, to work on something for a while and never share it with anyone else.

We’re allowed to get super-obsessed with something for a little while and then abandon it.

In fact, maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to be.

We are made to dabble.

Are you a dabbler? If you’re not, consider this your permission to try something, just for fun, with no expectations that you’ll be any good or even like it.

If you are a dabbler, I’d love to hear about your latest obsession, class or creative experience.


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  1. I love this! Fellow-dabbler here! I sometimes think the world doesn’t celebrate dabblers so we’ve gotta celebrate each other and recognize the joy to be had in stimulating our creative whims in different ways even if it “never goes anywhere”. You just never know where your next inspiration will come from. Great piece.

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