Although I haven’t said much about my interests outside of reading, writing and coffee, I’ve developed a couple hobbies to deal with the stress of grad school. Ever since I moved into my “big girl” apartment, one where I’m not sharing a kitchen with six other girls, I’ve spent more time learning about food, which has led to some experimentation and delicious success.
I’ve started following food blogs and spending more time reading ingredient labels, and in general, trying to make everything I eat from scratch. So I’m not the cliché grad student eating ramen noodles every night. I admit, the food I make takes some planning and a multiple trips to the grocery store a month. But I find it so relaxing! It has spawned a whole new fascination with food, and a new way to spend all of my money. You’d be surprised how much your impulse buys on Amazon can add up when you have your credit card information saved and a few more months left on an Amazon Prime free trial. Okay, maybe you wouldn’t. Just typing it out sounds like a recipe for disaster. (ah! ah! See what I did there?)
So this past Saturday I decided, in celebration of the nearing end of the semester, to try my hand at a loaf of honey wheat sandwich bread. I used this recipe from my absolute favorite food blog, Budget Bytes. No alterations. This recipe is perfect as is. It wasn’t my first try, but as I learned a few days ago, I had been incorrectly using a rather confusing set of measuring cups which was negatively influencing my baking results. This time, however, after purchasing a new set of measuring cups purely out of spite, I was able to get my bread to rise and bake in the most beautiful, golden brown fashion.
And I found great success! There was much rejoicing.
I have also come to enjoy the occasional video game. Since I was about 11, my favorite game franchise has been Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda. I played Ocarina of Time when the N64 came out and was absolutely blown away by the storytelling and character development. Leave it to a writer to appreciate storyline over the button mashing murder moves (although I like those too.) I’ve been hooked ever since. I’m currently in the (very slow) process of finally beating Majora’s Mask, a game I was too young to fully comprehend when it originally came out. This is by far the most complex, intricate and heartfelt game in the Zelda franchise.
I just finished up the Stone Tower Temple, the last of four temples in the game before heading off to fight the final boss, which I’m saving for another night. I really want to make this game last. I’ve finished all the side quests and probably talked to every character in the game with lines. I just don’t want it to end! Luckily, when it inevitably does, I have Skyward Sword waiting in the wings.
I’ll definitely be posting more about my adventures in food. Not only is it relaxing and fun, but I’m considering pitching some articles to food publications. And once the weather gets nice, I might get into gardening so I can start growing my own veggies and herbs. As for video games? I’ll just anxiously await the next Zelda release while replaying Wind Waker and humming along to the music.
The thing is, hobbies are important. They help relieve the stress of working and writing, and they give you something to write about. If all you know is writing—the art, the craft, the lifestyle—then all you can write about is writing. Having other interests, other areas of knowledge, is what sets writers apart. It’s what will open doors and create opportunities that others might not have.
So embrace the way you waste time. It’s good for your heart, and good for your writing (as long as at some point, you actually get back to writing).