Hobbies For Writers (that aren't reading)

Looking on the internet, on various sites, there aren't many places that list actual hobbies. I mean, reading is always listed but for me, if you're a writer, reading is essential. When I'm looking for hobbies for writers I want something that's not obvious, the kind of hobbies that may be nothing to do with writing at all. Yes, learning what other writers are doing is important, but it's not a hobby. So I've put together a list of hobbies for writers that aren't reading, and just so you know they are hobbies and activities I do myself. 


I'm not sure if walking can be classed as a hobby given that we do it every day when we go from one place to another, but when I say walking I mean heading out with the sole purpose of walking a route. We have lots of footpaths, canals, and parks near us so we can go to any of those places for a walk. The route we take will depend on how long we want to spend walking, and this can range from 30 minutes to two hours.


Benefits of walking as a hobby for writers

When you're a writer you spend a lot of time indoors, either sitting in front of a computer or handwriting your manuscript. An outdoor walk will help you clear your mind, breathing fresh air, the monotonous drum of your feet hitting the ground, it all comes together and makes you feel more open. I can't count the number of times I've been stuck on my manuscript with a character or a scene, gone for a walk, and come back with the solution in my head. I don't know what it is about being outdoors but I feel like there's more room to think when I'm outside. It's almost like being in the house limits your thinking and when you get outside there's air all around and you can let your mind wander. Give it a try.

My own hobbies are rather quiet. I like to read and do needlework, and I love animals.

Betsy Byars

Play Video Games

Whether you like RPGs (role-playing games) or shooters, adventure games or old-style platformers, playing video games as a hobby can give you that break from writing. Writers can get bogged down with words. We search for the right term, the single word that will get across our meaning, and sometimes it can take hours to land on the right one. Our heads are filled with words and phrases that dance around until we pick them out at the appropriate moment. Get away from the words, let your mind rest, and play a video game.


I play various video games including Fortnite (with my kids), Zelda Breath of the Wild, and a few Mario games. It's a chance for me to stop being a writer and take a break, have fun, relax. We can't always be the writer, and stepping away from the words occasionally can help us find the right one quicker when the time comes.

Watch TV or Movies

This is one of my favourite hobbies and I spend lots of time watching shows. Some writers may think it's a waste of time and you can't get anything from TV that will help with your writing, but I'd say they're wrong. From shows like Dexter and You to comedies like The Office I've learned a lot about writing and character creation. Of course you have to watch the shows with your writing in mind, if you want to learn, but you can always watch for fun. You writer brain is still there and will take in information, even when you're not conscious of it.


As a crime fiction writer I love crime shows, both true crime and fiction. Not only does it help with characters but there are also scenarios, motives, even crimes to inspire future projects.


A hobby I've picked up again recently is cross-stitch and this may or may not be something you enjoy. It's like colour-by-numbers with thread. You can buy ready made packs with thread included for you to create something fun or beautiful, and there's plenty of starter kits. 


What I enjoy about cross-stitch is the peacefulness. It's therapeutic. I sit with my plan, my thread, and my needle and set about creating a picture that will eventually be beautiful. The cross-stitch has nothing at all to do with writing, sometimes it's a mindless task and I don't need to do anything but stitch. The stitching takes control and my mind is completely off writing - and that's a good thing. Cross-stitch isn't an exciting hobby, but it's a chance to sit in a quiet place and create something using your hands. 

Engage in tasks and hobbies that bring you joy, like reading a book or going for a run.

Jeff Gunn


Along the same lines as cross-stitch doing jigsaws is a great way to take your mind off writing. When you're writing a long story or a novel it can feel like you're never going to finish. Weeks and months fly by and you're still not finished and that can get you down but by having a hobby that helps you complete something you get that satisfaction. Jigsaws are a fun hobby and fill this need. 

The Hubby and I have loads of jigsaws and we pull them out occasionally. There's a process to it, like with most things, but when the jigsaw is completed it's nice to see and acknowledge the completed project. 

Lego sets

Most people think Lego is for kids but with sets like the Taj Mahal and London Bridge there's a growing list of sets for adults. The Hubby and I have lots of sets, including the ones above, and, like the jigsaws we get the out and have a set building session. Building Lego sets has the same benefits as the jigsaws in that you can see a completed project when you're finished.


Lego as a hobby can get quite expensive, but it's lots of fun, and if you're thinking of purchasing a Lego set I can highly recommend Brick Bank.

I'm sure there are plenty of other hobbies you could try to either take your mind off writing or help you learn more. A couple that come to mind are baking and painting. The list above are all hobbies I do and ones I enjoy which is why I feel comfortable sharing them. For writers a hobby needs to be one of two things - either it helps your writing in some way (like reading or watching TV) or it takes your mind off the writing. I enjoy both kinds.

What is your favourite hobby?

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