There’s summer projects, and of course, summer passion. But have you ever thought about bringing the two together: a passion project?
True, I’m only bringing it up because summer is a primo opportunity to get a passion project up and running – tons of sunlight, vacation time, no kids, you get the picture – but this is by no means a time-sensitive topic.
We all have some activity we love doing - gardening, cooking, bike riding, writing, building--I could go on forever – but often times we dissuade ourselves with excuses and convince ourselves that can’t do it. It’s too much money, or it’s a dumb dream, or we’re too old. This is hogwash (I just wanted to use the word, “hogwash”). There’s an old Chinese proverb that says “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” You are never too old to pursue a dream or a goal. You might be afraid, and that’s totally natural, but never too old. You ready to grab life by the horns and make your dreams become a reality? (How many Texan clichés do you think I can cram in here?)
Here are my AAA-certified* tips to getting your passion project off the ground.
We’re all human(ish) and a lot of us get anxious and afraid in the face of the unknown. It’s scary but it’s not insurmountable. The reason we get anxious is because humans are short-sighted. We think only of immediate repercussions, not long-term effects. If you want to write a book, or a website, or a short-story, or a blog, the only way to improve as a writer is to write, a lot. True, your first bit of time as a writer may not be all that good, but don’t let that stop you from trying. We think what we’re doing isn’t good enough and we’re afraid of opening ourselves up, to be vulnerable to criticism (which can usually be taken and learned from), because we hate feeling sub-par or judged. Forget all that. This is something you love to do, or would love to LEARN to do, don’t let anyone’s perception of your work stand in your way of accomplishing it. Someone doesn’t like the work you’re doing? Good. Get back to the drawing board, improve your craft, and change their mind. The only way to get better is to do. Perfection is a futile pursuit, don’t fret not reaching it, no one ever does.
DON’T PAY ATTENTION TO “RIGHT” AND “WRONG”
We are conditioned to accept that there is a “right way” and a “wrong way” to do something. “This is how we do this”, “This is how we do that”, “Did you do it like I asked?” etc, and that’s important in the work place. But this isn’t the work place, this is YOUR place. There is no right or wrong in your place unless you put it there.
You want to start a blog that contains only gifs? Who’s gonna tell you no? The crazy thing about this abstract “right” and “wrong” is that something is only “right” if it’s been done successfully before, but just because it hasn’t been done before, doesn’t mean that it’s inherently wrong, it’s just different. If you are good at something, or have a plan for something, or even just a passion for something, and you put it into action, the final product will be something to be proud of. It might garner an audience of one (you), or 10, or 10,000, but if you’re coming from a genuine place, the audience size doesn’t matter.
ENJOY THE RIDE
You’re at point A and your goal is point B, find the route that best works for you and take it. You’ll be given advice from people, sometimes advice you asked for, sometimes not, and you should follow the advice of those who have been there before and those you trust, but don’t follow directly in their footsteps. There are no patterns, cut your own path. The quickest way to get from point A to point B is a straight line, but that may not be your best way. Don’t get trapped in the mindset of “I have to do it this way”. You don’t, you just have to do it your way. You’re have your vision, trust it.
Until next time – get working and have fun.