Challenge 02: Finding the energy
But what if you do manage to eke out some extra hours, only to find you don’t have sufficient energy to use them productively?
“I think the amount of energy you have – or you think you have – relates to the amount of passion you have invested in your goals,” says Ariana DeLuca, a New York-based art director.
“This is why I called my side project The Passionate Project, because making it was like falling in love. I was so excited, I had great energy, I had butterflies. I was getting home from work and I was staying up till 3am. To get on the computer and create this, and know I was doing something I absolutely loved, gave me that extra shot of energy.”
Carolyn Porter, a graphic designer from Minnesota, tells a similar tale. Her love of old-time handwriting propelled her to create her own font, which mimicked the script of a real-life wartime letter.
That project subsequently spun into a book, Marcel’s Letters: A Font And The Search for One Man’s Fate, which she based on the research she’d done into the letter’s original author. “I think if you find a project that you’re passionate about, you just have to be relentless and tenacious about bringing that project to life,” says Porter.
“It may not be fast, it’s not going to be easy. But it’s ultimately worth it, and you just need to be tenacious.”
Challenge 03: Life getting in the way
All this can be easier said than done, of course, as life has a habit of getting in the way. A child or family member gets sick. The roof starts leaking. You’re handed a huge project at work and have to work later hours than usual.
The solution? Accept that life is not perfect, sure… but don’t give up, and try to find new ways to hang on to your goals.
“Sometimes life or other projects are more important,” says Mielke. “In life, you have to go where the fires are at. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still play mental Tetris with, say, the logistics of a side project, in those moments of the day that don’t have your complete attention: when you’re working out, in the bathroom, on your commute. The organisation and planning of a project or goal is the foundation and support of the physical action of the idea.”
And when things get sticky, Strange stresses one key word: positivity. “Just approaching everything you do with a positive mind state can work wonders,” he enthuses.
“It presents obstacles as opportunities, which helps immensely when it’s 1.30am and you’re not sure if you can succeed. You need all these little boosts to help you through all of your creative endeavours.”