On Saturday night, lying in bed and typing away on my laptop, sometimes I do ask myself, “Why don’t I just put everything aside, watch TV and relax like everyone else? Does my writing really matter to anyone?”

The answer always comes back loud and clear, “It matters to me!”

I write because it keeps me sane in this insane world. I could have been sitting in a therapist’s office, crying a river while spending thousands of dollars. But through my own words, I’ve re-discovered the meaning, happiness of my life and resolutions to many previously perceived unsolvable issues. When I write, I enter this ‘zone’ that is insulated from the outside chaos and troubles. I write because I want my children to know who their mother is and leave them with the authentic part of me that will last forever in descriptive words. I hope as they go through the cycles of life, my voice will offer wisdom, comfort and hope. I write for my friends who read my work or take the time to let me know that they were touched and inspired by something I had written.

Researchers have found that hobbies not only boost your mood, but they can help your physical health too. Studies found that who spend time in their hobbies lower their risk of heart disorders when compared to those continuously working for very long hours.

Hobbies come in all shapes and sizes: people collect stamps, knit intricately designed sweaters, fold paper; devote each sunrise to the treadmill, each evening to yoga; plan floral landscapes each winter; plant seeds in spring; rebuild vintage cars; make music, piece quilts, bake bread. Whether we spend hours a day or days a month or weeks a year, any voluntary “specialized pursuit” that takes place outside one’s occupation is considered a hobby.

Carol Kauffman, an associate professor at Harvard in 2007, once said that “When you’re really engaged in a hobby you love, you lose your sense of time and enter what’s called a flow state, and that restores your mind and energy,” You are fully involved in what you’re doing. All of your mind, heart, and attention are focused on the task at hand.

A flow state is one of those rare experiences when you become so fully immersed in an activity that time, food, and other distractions are forgotten. It is sometimes described as the “optimal experience” as you are most efficient and effective in your work. It’s the point where your skill level meets the challenge perfectly. When you can take a long enough break for a hobby that normally puts you in flow, your productivity will increase when you return back to your work.

Technically you can enter the state of indulgence and forget everything else when you play computer games or watch TV. Unfortunately these hobbies neither have lasting effects nor require real skills.

Consider the moon-struck testimony of Winston Churchill, an eminent politician and statesman of the twentieth century, who fell in love with painting in midlife. In a small book called Painting as a Pastime, he wrote:

“To have reached the age of forty without ever handling a brush or fiddling with a pencil, to have regarded with mature eye the painting of pictures of any kind as a mystery, to have stood agape before the chalk of the pavement artist, and then suddenly to find oneself plunged in the middle of a new and intense form of interest and action with paints and palettes and canvases, and not to be discouraged by results, is an astonishing and enriching experience. I hope it may be shared by others. I should be glad if these lines induced others to try the experiment which I have tried, and if some at least were to find themselves dowered with an absorbing new amusement delightful to themselves…

“I hope this is modest enough: because there is no subject on which I feel more humble or yet at the same time more natural. I do not presume to explain how to paint, but only how to get enjoyment. Do not turn the superior eye of critical passivity upon these efforts. Buy a paint-box and have a try…There is close at hand a wonderful new world of thought and craft, a sunlit garden gleaming with light and colour… [And if you are inclined to reconnoiter this sphere], then be persuaded that the first [and only] quality that is needed is Audacity… We [who are hobbyists] must not be too ambitious. We cannot aspire to masterpieces. We may content ourselves with a joy ride in a paint-box…”

Churchill was being modest. Many of his paintings were quite lovely – nice enough to be reprinted and sold in England on note cards and ceramic vases. Well, perhaps his stature as a politician has had something to do with that, but his paintings were certainly as worthy of hanging on the living room wall as Aunt Sally’s calligraphy. The point Churchill wanted to make is that if you cultivate your hobby with all the love and devotion of a true amateur, recreation becomes a form of creation that recreates you*.

Like Churchill, I love my newfound hobby of writing with a passion. Even though I’ll never be able to write as magnificently as Shakespeare, as deeply as Tolstoy, as fascinating as J K Rowling, by thinking and writing continuously, I aspire to write a bestseller someday by finding my own unique angle.