And maybe you do too.
It’s impossible for me to work on just one thing.
Maybe not truly impossible, but it’s hard for me to feel content when it seems like I don’t have much to do.
I don’t mean this in the sense that I enjoy overworking myself.
I never want to get to the point that I feel all I do is work, though some days that feeling of being completely overwhelmed is hard to avoid. Don’t we all get a little flustered over our workload at times?
But I do need more than one project. Specifically, I need more than one creative project.
If you’re like me, then maybe you have more ideas bouncing around in your head than you know what to do with, or notebooks covered in things you want to work on someday when you have the chance.
I’m here to tell you not to put those ideas on the back burner.
Listen To Yourself
Take a look at what you’re currently working on, or what you would consider to be your “projects.”
For me, it’s working, writing, and doing my schoolwork. These are things I tell people I’m “working on.” Things that I’m doing. Things that fill my time.
If what you’re currently doing is enough for you, then I applaud you to no end. I know that I tend to bite off more than I can chew when it comes to things I’m “working on”, but I know that I’m never satisfied unless I feel happy with the amount of creativity I’m using.
I write novels. That’s my big thing in life. And, usually, I’ll pour about 65% of my creative focus into one novel. The other 35% of my creative juices get used on side-projects.
But these are personal side-projects. I don’t consider Medium or any form of freelancing to be side projects. For me, side-projects are intensely creative, and completely for myself.
Be A Little Selfish
I write for myself, and I want to write for myself. I always have, and I always will.
I try to keep it this way. I’ve never been a big fan of change.
I like to have a short story or novella or ridiculous novel that will never see the light of day that I can open up every now and then, feeling completely safe in the fact that no one will read it but me.
I encourage you to do this too. What’s the harm in starting a project that only you have access to? If anything, you’ll gain skills from it. You’ll learn about yourself, what you want, and what you like. It’s hard to create a private piece to work on and not learn something about yourself.
I have at least a dozen of these little private side-projects, and I wouldn’t trade them for the world. I don’t mind that I’m the only person who will ever see them. It’s hard not to want validation, but we don’t always need it to succeed or at least feel like we’ve succeeded.
It’s okay to write for you. It’s okay to write for fun. It’s okay to write without the intent of making money. In a world obsessed with work and success (even I have already mentioned success in this article; I’m not immune), I think we sometimes forget that it’s okay to do something just for us.
There Isn’t One Definition
A project doesn’t have to be some huge, involved piece either. It doesn’t have to be an entire portfolio or a 100k novel. You don’t have to be writing The Great American Novel as a side-project.
It can be a diary. It can be an anthology of flash fiction. Hell, who said it had to be written? Start planting in your garden again. Paint an absolute masterpiece. Take a class and get an A. Get a hobby. That’s what your project can be. Something you can pour your heart into and get joy out of. It’s that simple.
It’s okay to focus on work. It’s okay to want to make more money or get that promotion.
But you can’t forget to focus on yourself, too. Don’t let work take away the magic from the things you love.
Do things for you.