I'm 100% lay-person/hobbyist, and only do photography because I enjoy it. It does separate into a "playful, fun, carefree experimental" and "more serious, careful painstaking" sides. For me the pinhole / paper negatives / alt side keeps things fun and different and more lighthearted, with few expectations. When it's just a piece of photo paper in a coffee can, it is easier to let go and just immerse in your surroundings and not have set ideas of what it will be.
But then it really does take some work and effort to learn how to make good negatives and learn how to print them well. That side of things for me is "more traditional" I guess, and even if I do it for the rest of my life I won't get as much experience as some here at APUG have. I'm beginning to realize the "fun" side needs to mix more with the "serious film" side. But I feel like I'm discovering and seeing new things all the time, so I guess I just naturally make enough mistakes so I'm bound to stumble on something good!
We've all had "happy accidents" and serendipity. I think of photography as discovery as much as pre-planned creation.