Find Success with Personal Projects

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Project Pea word count: 20,147

No Monday post and a late Tuesday post? It happens. Life happens.

The past few days have been a little crazy, and since writing for the blog doesn’t pay the bills, it’s the only thing I can sacrifice for more time. On Friday, the water pump for the ice maker in our freezer burst and flooded the kitchen. This is the second time our kitchen has flooded due to old, faulty appliances, and it wouldn’t be so bad if the floor of our pantry wasn’t carpet. I don’t know whose bright idea it was to put carpet at the bottom of the pantry – especially when the rest of the kitchen is tile – but here we are. Luckily, we learned after the last time this happened so we purchased a plastic liner to go across the bottom of the pantry. It saved our food this time, but it was still a hassle to make sure the pantry was totally dried out.

Then this week, I made it my goal to finally get my name changed (after a year and a half of being married) since the Social Security offices are open now. I was able to hit up both Social Security and the DMV, so now I just have to get a new passport. And figure out bank accounts… And credit cards…

All of that to say that by the time I got to a coffee shop this morning and sat down to work on my personal writing projects – Project Pea and my travel memoir – I didn’t really want to. I just had so much stuff spinning around in my head and I felt exhausted already, though the day had hardly begun. It didn’t help that I had actual work to do, which, as you know, also involves writing.

Sometimes, it’s hard to find a balance between personal projects and work – and all of that on top of everything else life throws at us! After all…

People say to follow your dreams, but they also say not to let your passion be your work.

This is why we ignore what “people” say and do what we want (in cases like this, anyway). I decided almost three years ago now that I was going to pursue my greatest passion: writing. Basically, I made a flip in my two greatest creative loves. I was working in music with writing as my hobby, but I decided instead to work in writing and let music be my hobby. And yet, writing is still my hobby, too. I don’t make much money from blogging or publishing books, but I do it anyway because I love it.

Except in cases like today, where I was staring at a half-full page, watching the cursor blink and wondering how I was going to do this.

To pursue both work and passion, you have to be intentional.

Personal work isn’t going to magically get done on its own. If you wait until you “feel like it,” you may never type another word on that passion project of yours. Personal projects are work too, and sometimes they even feel like it – but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t finish them.

It took me some time to figure out this balance, and to be honest, it’s something I’m still working on. But here are two major things that have really helped me:

1. Set aside time in your schedule for personal projects…

On Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, I get up in the morning and travel somewhere, whether it be a coffee shop, a lake, a restaurant, or somewhere else that just inspires me. Then, I set up camp and write.

It’s a special time that I set aside specifically for my personal projects, and because it’s so fun, I’ve started to really look forward to it. Working on personal projects was becoming a chore for me, but no longer! Looking forward to such a special occasion in a new environment makes me see my personal projects in a totally different light.

2. …but don’t put them on your work to-do list.

This is a mistake that I made for a long time. I love checklists, so every day, I make a to-do list with all of the work that I need to get done. My husband and I have a checklist every week for chores, too. The issue came when I started adding my personal projects to my work checklist. It was still stuff that needed to get done, right?

But I found that when I counted my personal projects among my work, I was less likely to do them.

I was viewing them as “work,” and it really hurt my motivation. As soon as I stopped adding my books to my work schedule and put them on a different checklist, my productivity soared! I started to have fun with my books again.

The key word is balance. If you want to write professionally and personally, I believe that you can do it and even enjoy it. I certainly do! Don’t be afraid to do something you love as work. Is it easy? Sometimes, no! You may have days where you’re tired of it and don’t want to write anymore. But those days will happen. All you can do is stay positive and see every day as an opportunity. For me, that looks like tuning my heart to Jesus every single morning. When I have my eyes fixed on him, everything else falls into place. Enjoy your work. Enjoy what you do for fun.

And happy writing!

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Photo by Dragos Gontariu on Unsplash

Current Donation Goal: New Desk Chair! $0/$200

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My neck hurts, y’all. Even though I’m careful to maintain good posture while working at my desk, my current desk chair simply doesn’t provide me with the support I need – but good desk chairs are expensive, and that’s why I need your help! Thank you so much for your support that allows me to keep producing free content. God bless you! ♥️ E.J.


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