Three ways to… throw yourself into a personal project
Rob Self-Pierson offers three tips for doing something big, crazy and challenging and not worrying about losing clients and work in the process.
In 2009 I was a writer in an agency. That October I went solo to focus on travelling around Britain by the light of the full moon. I’ve never looked back. In a few weeks I’ll be crossing the Channel to visit 50 towns in 16 countries on the Continent for a new travel writing project, Twin Town. It’s not a holiday and it’s not business writing. It’s writing for me and writing for my readers. But like Moonwalking, I hope it gets clients asking me questions when I get back.
1. Do it. You’re a writer. You’ve had an idea. But to make it happen, you need three months away from your desk (at home or in the office). So you forget the idea and trudge into work the next day, slump behind your desk and dream about what could’ve been. Stop it. Stop that now. Instead, scribble down the idea, turn it into a proposal, propose it to yourself, fall in love with it, save money for it, know you’re going to do it then take the step. Tell your boss you’ve had an idea that’ll make you The Best Writer In The World and that you have to do it. If you are your boss, tell yourself that experiencing something new every day will be a great thing for your writing, that you’ll return a better writer, and that you won’t lose the clients you have. You’re good and they value you too much to forget you. No, you won’t lose clients, you’ll get new ones.
Summary: Every sensible part of your mind and body will tell you not to do it. Ignore them.
2. Tell people you’re doing it. Feel proud that you’ve had a good idea and you’re going to see it through. Tell your clients about it. And tell the people you’d like to have as clients about it. It says a lot about you – you’re creative, you have good ideas, you’re dedicated, you’re a little bit crazy, you crave knowledge, you can work independently, you’re outgoing, you’re bold, and you’re brave (and confident) enough to know you’ll come back a better writer.
Summary: Be proud of what you’re doing and tell people about it. Realise it’ll make you a better writer (and person, probably).
3. Do it again. You’re back and you’re busy and you’re still a writer and you’re happy and you have another idea. You know the score. If it’s going to make you happier and improve your writing and help you give your company or your clients better value for their money, get scribbling. Because boredom is a writer’s biggest enemy.
Summary: Do it again. Another project next time. And again. And again. Until sitting behind a desk at home or in the office is the better option.