Cute dog in summer garden with wheelbarrow and plant.
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13 resources we recommend to help you pick up a new hobby

24 Apr 2020581 Views

Have you been meaning to get into gardening? Has photography always piqued your interest? Here are some of our recommendations for new hobby resources.

You may be thinking of trying out a new hobby now that you have some extra time and head space on your hands. If so, here are some of our recommendations for places to start.

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Ravelry

Ravelry is a community-led resource for anyone looking to knit, crochet, weave or dye. It’s free to use and lets you keep your projects organised through notes and tracking but, most importantly, it’s a haven for new patterns, advice and inspiration from others.

Reddit

You might already be an avid Redditor, especially now that you’re spending more time at home. I’ve been using Reddit for years but it was only recently that I began subscribing to subreddits on my hobbies or new skills I was interested in.

There’s pretty much a subreddit for everything, so a simple search for your choice of pastimes should uncover a goldmine of resources. Some that I’ve been enjoying recently are r/Knitting, r/CookingForBeginners and r/WritingPrompts.

Duolingo

I haven’t gotten around to this one yet myself, perhaps because learning a new language seems to me more work than play. But from what I’ve heard about Duolingo, it can make the learning process a whole lot more attractive because of its user-friendliness and innate fun.

I know a couple of people who have been using it for some time to learn Spanish from scratch, and both have made impressive progress. So, if you’re up to the challenge, give it a go.

Medium

Medium is a useful resource in two ways. For one thing, it’s a bank of content from people all around the world who write about anything from their opinions on politics to what they’ve learned about making the perfect sandwich. So, like Reddit, it’s a good place to simply stick in your keyword and hit the search button.

But on the other hand, you can also add your own content to the bank. You might have a how-to guide that you’d like to share with others, or perhaps you’ve always wanted to start a blog.

Headspace

I wrote about Headspace previously in our recommendations for yoga and mindfulness, but I wanted to include it again. Some of the hobbies discussed in this list are teetering on the edges of learning, working and being productive.

But it’s important to remember that a new hobby doesn’t have to involve acquiring new knowledge or abilities, it can just be setting aside time to let yourself unwind. In fact, I’d say that’s a pretty crucial idea to keep in mind, especially at this moment in time.

Keep Cooking and Carry On

This is a special line of recipes brought out by chef Jamie Oliver to help people make the most of simple cooking at home. The recipes incorporate “freezer faves” and items you’re likely to have in your cupboard, as well as alternatives for ingredients you might not have.

It’s a great resource if you’re intimidated by cooking and want to start taking some steps towards building it into your routine.

A Cultivated Nest

For the lucky ones among us with access to a garden at the moment, working up some muscle in your green fingers might be on the cards. A Cultivated Nest is a blog covering gardening, DIY and crafts, decorating and organising, all activities that can be good for the mind, body and soul during stressful times.

The site has a whole host of gardening tips, so you’re bound to find something helpful on it.

Artists Network

Like many of the other hobbies on this list, art is something that can be equal parts fun and therapeutic. Whether you want to work on your painting skills or you’re eager to blow off some steam through creative expression, there are plenty of resources out there.

One place to start is Artists Network, an online hub with techniques, inspiration, videos, magazines and competitions curated by people in art. It has a vast range of articles on getting to grips with the basics, from using graphite to drawing facial features.

Irish Writers Centre

You may or may not already be familiar with the Irish Writers Centre. Located on Parnell Square, it’s the national resource centre for Irish literature. With the impacts of Covid-19 requiring us to stay indoors and physically distance, the centre has launched a range of online writing courses.

Included are courses on sustaining a flourishing writing practice, an introduction to biography, a six-week virtual starter kit, the fundamentals of fiction and many more. There’s something to be found for every level of writer.

Writer’s Digest

You can also find writing resources on Writer’s Digest, which has a couple of different options. One is the site’s writing prompts, which are available for both poetry and storytelling. There are hundreds of these recommended for beginners, giving you a helping hand with putting pen to paper.

There’s also the Writer’s Digest University, which has more formal online learning options. There are workshops, for example, on novel writing, speciality writing, freelancing and writing bootcamps.

The Postman’s Knock

Another crafty site to delve into is The Postman’s Knock, where designer and illustrator Lindsey Bugbee imparts her knowledge on the art of calligraphy. Her blog has free guides on all aspects of calligraphy, from starting out to which inks and nibs you should use.

WordPress and Wix

If you haven’t used a content management system (CMS) before, now could be the time to start. I first became familiar with the general workings of a CMS when I began working in communications, but it wasn’t long before I applied those skills to my number one hobby outside of my professional work, which is writing poetry.

If you already have a hobby that you’ve been wanting to keep track of, make visible or simply collect all in the one place, whether it’s writing, artwork or another craft, I’d recommend taking the same leap I did. I’ve used both WordPress and Wix, and both are user-friendly and intuitive.

Photography Life

The name of this site says it all really: if you’re intrigued by the world of photography but unsure of where to start, this is worth checking out. It has a vast amount of resources, whether you’re experienced in the field or not, but beginners should start out with its learning feature.

It brings everything back to basics, including what a DSLR camera is, so you can get stuck in no matter your level of knowledge.

Lisa Ardill
By Lisa Ardill

Lisa joined the team as senior Careers reporter in July 2019 with previous experience in science communication and media. With a BA in neuroscience and a master’s degree in science communication, she is also a semi-published poet and a big fan of doggos.

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