Fandom. I had this realisation last week, when I was thinking, "I never get any work done on weeknights". I had this realisation yesterday when I was watching the Vividcon DVDs and thought, "I should be writing up a report on these." I had this realisation two minutes ago when I thought, "Maybe I should Sim for the 30 minutes before I have to go out. No, I should get writing this LJ post."
Fandom is not my hobby. Fandom is my part-time job.
To me, a hobby is something that you do to entertain yourself. Something that you do when you want to.
Fandom entertains me, but I don't participate just when I want to. I have responsibilities. I have commitments. I have deadlines. And so do you, likely. I do these things even when I don't feel like it.
It's a big deal, especially now. I used to be in X-Files fandom. Then I was in Star Wars fandom. Et cetera. Somewhere along the way, though, that changed and now I'm in Fandom, where "fannish" is a certain way of approaching and engaging with media. And now we're fannish about pretty much everything we watch and read.
I write fic. I feel that I should always be working on something. And I am and when I'm not, I feel guilty. Which I probably shouldn't, but hey. I don't actually enjoy the act of writing all that much. Shorter pieces are easy to bang off, but longer things I have to whip myself to write. Blood Will Tell was three months of whinging, despair, and damned hard work. (Ask kestrelsan -- she had to put up with me through it all.) So why did I even do it? Because I'm a fan and that's my job.
I respond to feedback. That's not a trivial thing. (I don't mean to make it sound like I'm drowning in feedback, though, because I"m not.) I try to respond in kind, so much as I can, so longer feedback notes take longer to respond to. Sometimes I fall behind, but I do get everything replied to, to the best of my ability. Why? Because I appreciate that someone's taken the time to respond to me and I feel it's my responsibility to acknowledge that.
I read fic. Not so much as I used to, but I want to participate in the fandoms I'm in. And that means reading. Why? I enjoy it, but also because I don't think I can expect people to read me if I don't make an effort to be involved in reading myself. And for the most part, I need to know the fandoms I'm working in, beyond the source material.
I send feedback. If I enjoy something, I say so. It's only fair. (I'll only send crit if I have an established relationship with the author. But feel free to send crit to me regardless. I like it.) Why? Somebody took the time to make something I enjoyed. I ought to thank them.
I keep a LiveJournal. I try to post something most days, and something fannish, usually. Something related to media. I feel that I have a responsibility to the people reading to come up with something interesting to say. It's part of my job as a fan to produce opinions, analysis, and gratuitous squee about the media I'm engaged with.
I vid. Sometimes. And I feel that I should be doing it more, that I should be striving to improve.
I archive my fiction and vids on my websites. Which I'm behind on right now. Bah.
So, I have a part-time job called fandom. I just don't get paid for it. *g*
OK, I do. I get to hang out with smart, cool people, enjoy the works and opinions they produce, and gain (hopefully) the respect of most of my peers and the friendship of some. And that's why I do it. Even when I don't feel like it.