Simply; your job is killing your spirit.
Ok, back up and I will explain my position.
I’ve never had a proper job, I’ve been doing my own thing since I was fresh out of university at 20 years old.
Working for yourself isn’t all fun and games…
Especially early on, when you don’t really know what you’re doing, you’ve moved to a new city and need to grow up very quickly. I’ve struggled, I’ve had to borrow money to pay rent, I’ve been stuck in the house all weekend because I’m too broke to do anything and I’ve done the 16 hour days. It’s pretty much a right of passage when you start your own business, without any prior professional or life experience.
I say this to note that being the boss is not some idealised existence where everything goes swimmingly all of the time. The stuff you read about entrepreneurs inevitably focuses on the successful, not the struggling – even though the vast majority ultimately fail.
However, throughout all of the struggles and down times, it is great fun. You get a massive buzz out of creating something from nothing, from following your dreams and building value for yourself and your clients. You deeply care about your own business and invest part of your soul in to it every single day. It has real meaning to you.
Seeing the other side
I love writing, it is my creative outlet. It allows me to put my ideas down somewhere that they can hopefully help people and I thoroughly enjoy doing it. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever had writers block whilst writing my own material, even when I wrote 40,000+ words for my book; it flows out, seamlessly.
Since I started travelling, I realised that in some places (Laos in particular); the internet doesn’t work. In a lot of places it’s pretty much – late 90’s dial up speeds, for the quarter of the day that it works at all. That makes it hard to actually work with clients, co-coordinating Skype calls when the internet crashes every 5 minutes and is barely quick enough to connect a call anyway, is less than ideal.
I’m a resourceful kind of guy, and obviously need to earn some money, so I looked at where my knowledge and skill set would best serve me and decided to do some ghost writing in the health, fitness, self-development and dating niches.
I find writing easy, I am quick and pretty spot on with spelling, grammar, etc. so I can turn around a word count in no time at all when it is on my specialist subjects.
I’ve been writing for two groups of people.
- My friends in the fitness industry from London, who share very similar beliefs and values to myself
- Random people in the above mentioned industries; through an online freelancing platform
Writing for my friends is basically no different to writing my own stuff, they share similar ideas and operate at the same level. I enjoy this writing and find that it flows very easily.
Then there is freelancing for random people online, writing blog posts and more typically 5-10,000 word kindle books.
Let me explain briefly what these books consist of, 9 times out of 10.
- Always the same ‘secrets’ to weight loss
- Aimed at the average person who will impulse buy the book and never action any of it
- Extremely fluffy with no depth or opinion
- A lot of overly basic, outdated or flat out dis-proven information that was popular 10 years ago
(This is still unfortunately the bread and butter of the fitness industry. The stuff that myself and my friends do, that actually works and gets amazing results, is still so rare.)
Initially, it was very easy to write. However, the more I have done, the harder it becomes to write something original. When it is all a regurgitation of the same basic information in an impersonal, unopinionated way, it is very hard to write different books.
For the first time in my career, I am not feeling creative when writing. I am chasing a word count rather than expressing my ideas or opinion. It is hard.
I procrastinate A LOT and find myself doing 5,000 words the day before the deadline, because I have put it off all week. I have not done that since I was in university.
It feels like work. It feels how I imagine most must feel sat in the office all day, unable to express an opinion, devoid of any creative input. Pandering to what your company wants you to produce.
It kills your spirit.
I feel a huge difference in my satisfaction levels from the work. Instead of wanting to write, thinking about ideas all of the time and mentally mapping out things in my mind while ‘not working’; I am putting it off, wanting to finish as quickly as possible and looking to do the bare minimum to earn the pay check.
This is something I have never felt before, and yet I know that it is not even that bad. It is just freelance work, I still don’t have an actual boss and I don’t have to continue working for anyone after the single, week long contract. Let alone being stuck in a dreary office all day.
How must it be for someone with a ‘real’ job?
Is there any wonder so many people are ranging somewhere from ‘living for the weekend’ to ‘full on depressed’?
I urge you to maintain some control over your life and to have a creative sphere where you can get in to a flow state and create something yourself.
Whether that is your work or an outside activity; I hypothesize that everybody needs a way to express their creativity in order to be free and happy.