Starting a Creative Side Project? Expect This
If you're thinking about starting a side project of any kind (or already have), you clearly have a bit of entrepreneurial spirit in you. Awesome! That means you're okay with taking risks and doing extra. I applaud you.
Thankfully, most side projects these days flex people's creative side. That means whatever you're doing is probably (relatively) cheap to get into. Like blogging or painting, for example. The only cost is a few bucks for a website or materials, and your time.
Over the last few months, I've been working on a side project of my own. It started out as a commitment to write every day, and it's turned into something a bit bigger. I'm still struggling at the whole monetization part, though. It's a work in progress, but I'll get there. I'll figure it out. That's all part of the process!
As February was beginning, I realized I needed to pick up my game. It wasn't enough to just be writing every day. I also needed to be publishing every day. That means, in addition to writing, I needed to be editing, distributing, and writing a little more.
I love this work I'm doing on the side, and I will always encourage others to do something similar. But if you're starting a creative side project, I want you to understand something.
I'm tired. I'm exhausted, really. I'm lucky enough (and thankful for it) that both my day job at Text Request and personal work are fulfilling. But it's still a lot to do. If you're starting a creative side project, you're going to have a lot to do. Today's a good example of what to expect, and I know other creatives will relate to this.
As I'm drafting this post, it's Monday. I spent five hours or so on both Saturday and Sunday writing, editing, etc. The weekend was restful, but it wasn't a break. This morning I started working a little before 7am.
At 8am I started working on Text Request related tasks. I left the office a little after 6pm. It's currently 9:29pm. I started writing this post at 9pm. It will be 10:30pm before I put the pen and computer down to get ready for bed.
That's average. Not just for me, but for every person trying to grow their skills and build a life around specifically what they want to do. If you're starting a creative side project - if it's something you're going to actively work on - it's going to be a time-consuming commitment. You'll love every painful minute, but it will take up a lot of minutes.
That's what I want you to expect. That you'll be a lot more tired at the end of each day, but that you won't know a better feeling. It's the creative equivalent of a runner's high.
I gave you a basic day-in-the-life example of myself. Add weekends, and I'm looking at a 70-hour work week, significantly unpaid. That's average. And to be honest, it's a really cool world to be a part of.
There are tens of thousands of us losing sleep and foregoing awesome events to work on our craft so that we'll one day be something great!
If you're starting a creative side project - which I highly recommend - expect it to take a lot out of you. Expect it to become more than just a casual hobby.
Expect to join a community of vibrant creatives all sharing ideas and helping each other grow. Expect it to be one of the most simultaneously exhausting and rewarding things you've ever done.