You may have noticed a few changes on my blog recently.
Namely, the appearance of a new section called “Shop” as well as a stream of journals and planners symbolizing the biggest transition this page has seen in a very long time.
What motivated this shop, why now, and what have I learned in the process?
If you been following me for a while, you know writing is my passion and ultimate goal. But I discovered something this past year that completely shattered what I thought it meant to be a writer.
Before writing and defending my thesis, I believed real writers should only focus on writing novels and forsake everything else.
That’s the stereotype Hollywood has been selling us for the past decades and that’s the stereotype most writers perpetuate and nurture in the minds of budding writers with an endless stream of articles rushing out of the internet directly into our feeds.
But is this the only way to live a writer’s life?
Right before defending my thesis, I gave myself a 3-month break from life.
I decided not to look for any kind of job and focus entirely on writing and building my Instagram page. Unknowingly, I was giving myself the chance to test-drive a freelance writing career.
Want to know what I learned?
I wrote a lot in the beginning, but after a while, my motivation dropped and my productivity dropped with it.
Because I was writing for fun (and not for profit), I didn’t feel the pressure to write better or to finish more articles or short stories. I just went with the flow, and surprisingly, after a few months, not only I produced remarkably little content, I was also bored out of my mind.
Feeling bored was not at all what I expected
Although many creatives argue that boredom is crucial for creativity, I found myself getting more and more disconnected from life and those around me. In little time, my creativity became a faint whisper that was getting harder and harder to grasp.
Perhaps my mind works differently, but I like challenges and the chance to reinvent myself amid unexpected circumstances. I love it when my routine spins out of control, and I love feeling frustrated by the things I don’t know yet how to solve. I love it not because it’s a merry comfortable feeling, but because it makes me feel alive!
Some people get this sense of discomfort-driven creativity out of their independent/freelance lives. I don’t. And I thank life every day for the opportunity to realize this before prematurely giving up looking for a “traditional” job.
One year into my new job, boredom is the last thing that crossed my mind
Between the challenges of grasping new technical knowledge, the frustration of having to quickly produce scientific content, and the intensity of diving head-on into a completely different field, I found passions I didn’t know I had.
One of those latent passions was graphic design.
Would I have discovered this budding passion had I pursued a freelance writing career?
I seriously doubt that.
Would I have learned how to deal with rejection so well had I not found a “traditional” job?
Would I have understood how to quickly write new content without getting caught up in doubts and perfectionism?
The most important lessons to draw from this experience are simple:
- Your day job can serve as the fuel for your creativity – provided you find the right kind of job!
- Having other creative hobbies alongside your writing may help you keep the writer’s fatigue at bay
- Plus you’ll get the chance to feel you’ve accomplished something palpable and useful throughout the day (a feeling you don’t get very often when you’re an unknown writer)
One thing most new writers don’t understand is that we all need to find a balance between writing and life. We also need to understand that doing things for the benefit of others can have a remarkably positive effect on our lives.
Writing can drive us to solitude, self-adsorption, and sometimes even depression. It is not only natural to seek out the people and experiences that help us balance those negative emotions, but also important that we don’t give up searching for that balance in our lives.
As human beings, we get the most fun and the deepest sense of achievement when we help others. When we write solely for ourselves, it is quite easy to forget where happiness truly lies.
But the most important is recognizing this balance will mean different things to different people and it will also mean different things to the same person throughout their life.
How are my new planners and this need for balance connected?
Had you meet me under different circumstances, you would have known I’m a ruthless organization freak.
During my Ph.D., I obsessively organized all my notes, results, and ideas. Plus, I helped others doing the same.
Preparing these planners is the perfect excuse to bring my organization freak and my creative side together.
The results are a growing desire to pursue other creative endeavors and a growing hunger to keep drawing more journals! As well as a more balanced and healthy creative routine.
A little note about my online shop and sustainability
My planners and journals are all published through Amazon’s KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) platform and available on all Amazon platforms around the word.
KDP is a print-on-demand service. Let me tell you why this is important to me:
Print-on-demand allows me to create as many journals as possible without having to print them or needing to keep large stocks of books. These journals are only printed when they’re purchased and they’re printed locally, reducing the environmental cost of shipping large stocks across long distances.
Paperback editions printed through KDP are also made from 30% post-consumer waste recycled material. Which makes the whole process more sustainable and environmental-friendly.
In the future, I have plans to make this shop even more sustainable while supporting local economies and empowering women in developing countries. But that is a story for another time!
What’s the most sustainable purchase you’ve done recently?
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