Stop Confusing A Hobby With A Side Hustle.


People ask me questions. People want to figure out how I have gotten to where I am, how I have accomplished the little bit that I’ve done. People ask how I stay inspired, how I manage to blog consistently, how I gained a following and how I’ve gotten my SEO up to par (something I don’t really know shit about).

I try to conjure up original answers to a lot of these questions. But, sometimes I think people want me to let them in on some sort of secret, some sort of mysterious recipe that would explain how I’ve been able to stand at the helm of this blog for almost three years.

I don’t have any secrets.

I don’t know any shortcuts.

I just work. And work. And work. And write. And write. And write. And work and write and work and write and work and write.

I would imagine that starting a blog at this point in time is terribly tough because as a friend of mine recently said, the market is over saturated. There is beauty in that over saturated market because there are so many resources, so many other people to learn from. But, without the ability to put blinders on and focus on the speed of your own lane, that same over saturated market will throw a lot of people off. It will transform them from creative producers into competitive machines. It won’t instill a value of hard work inside of them. Instead, it will propel them to seek shortcuts, forego originality and simply react to what the next person is doing, saying, writing or thinking.

If you want to know the secret, if you’re hungry for the shortcut, here it is: hard work and self-discipline. Hard work and self-discipline are the true differentiators for anyone who wants to do this blogging thing. So easy, yet so difficult. Sure, I believe I have a knack for writing, but I am not writing anything new under the sun. I’m just working my ass off and that’s something people don’t want to do anymore. People want to attempt something for three months and think they’ll magically see extraordinary results. People want to blog when they feel like it. People are out here confusing hobbies with side hustles. Watching television is a hobby for me. It’s something I do when I’m bored, when I need to unwind, when I just want to plop down and be slob for a few hours. But, writing? That’s my side hustle.

A side hustle is your Friday night when everyone else is out. A side hustle is Sunday afternoon when you would rather take a nap. A side hustle is how I originally drafted this post in the notes section of my iPhone on Friday while I was waiting to get my hair done, then edited it on a Sunday night as I felt a migraine coming on and my cramps coming back. That’s my side hustle. That’s what it looks like. That’s how inconvenient it is. That’s how not-so-fun it can be. People see the award. They see a byline here or there. They see me tweet about excitement for a showcase. But, all of this grand inconvenience, all of this work–that’s the real side hustle.

A hobby is when you feel “inspired.” A hobby is when you feel like it. A hobby is nice. It’s freeing. It’s an escape. But it will never reap the benefits of a side hustle because it will never, ever require the same investment of time, energy and resources.

You know what I want in 2015? I want people to stop confusing hobbies with side hustles.

Bloggers get a bad rep for a lot of reasons, one of them being that a lot of inconsistent people water down the term. I don’t say that to say blogging isn’t a great hobby. It is. It’s an awesome one. If someone wants to spew out some thoughts every now and again, I am here for it. But I want those people to call that what it is–a hobby. Please do not act like it’s a side hustle when there are some of us out here busting our asses and really, well, hustling. Please do not act like it’s a side hustle when your profit plan is still shoved so far up your ass it hasn’t seen broad daylight. Please do not act like it’s a side hustle If you haven’t figured out a way to consistently carve it in to your week. Please do not act like it’s a side hustle if you haven’t embedded it in to your life and routine. If you can get to it when you have the chance to get to it, it is still a hobby. Just call it a hobby and clear the path for those who are serious about their shit.

There are not any secrets. There are not any shortcuts. There is only hard work, lots of it, all the time, even when you don’t feel like it. And there isn’t hard work one day and then a day where you’ve suddenly earned the chance to prop your feet up. There is a consistent drumbeat of hard work. Pay your dues. Put in your time. Shit, I’m still paying my dues. I’m still putting in my time. I’m still waiting for a chance to prop my size 9.5 feet up.

No one can teach you hard work. Stop thinking that paying a creative coach $100 dollars an hour is going to suddenly help you work hard. Just stop being a lazy ass. Find that fire inside of you and let it burn every last bit of apathy away. Do the work. Put your head down and do the work. Put the blinders on, turn the music up and do the fucking work.


Stop Waiting For Good Things To Fall Into Your Lap And Start Busting Your Ass.

Step into my lair and I will reveal to you one of my inner-most fantasies.

Not that kind of fantasy, pervert. Get your mind out of the gutter. It’s more of a professional fantasy, if you will.

I’ve always had this dream that someone big and bad in the blogosphere will magically stumble upon Twenties Unscripted and then give me some cool opportunity because of it. “Hey, want to write for this magazine?” or “Love your blog; let’s discuss a book deal.” It’s every writer’s wet dream and do not let them tell you any different.

However, somewhere along the line, I woke up from that delusion and realized most amazing opportunities, in the blogosphere and otherwise, are carved by your own hands and hard work. Because my birthday is coming up this week and I’ve been way too reflective, I realize I’ve had some dope writing and poetry opportunities this year. These gemstone experiences have defined the bulk of the past year, but I realize none of them were fortuitous happenings. Each one of them was the result of me busting my ass, badgering people to death via email, or an obnoxious combination of the two.

Listen. Everyone has a blog. Blind monkeys have them. Babies probably have them. Saying you have a blog is like saying you have a liver. Who cares? I’ve been met with more than a few eye rolls when I say, “Oh, yeah, I have a blog” because there isn’t any appropriate way to say, “I have a blog that I pour an incredible amount of my life and energy into day after day.” Then you just sound like a self-important idiot and I try to confine my narcissism to once a week at most.

Nonetheless, I’m aware that I’m far from special just by virtue of having a blog. I know that if I ever want my blog to be more than a blip on the Internet radar, I have to work at it tirelessly. Even when I don’t feel like it or even when I have no clue what I will write that night or even if I feel like I’m saying the same thing I said a week or a month ago. And I encounter all of those thoughts every week. What, did you just think I’m bursting at the seams with inspiration on the daily? No, buddy. But, I have to do it. I have to write. Because, nothing in life replaces a work ethic. Nada. Zip. Zero. Unless you’re a Kardashian.

I suffer from Insatiable Syndrome. So, even when good things happen or I’m rewarded for hard work, I have a problem celebrating for any lengthy amount of time before my mind has sped off to the next Great Wall to conquer. My brain only knows how to operate on overdrive which is a very exhausting way to live. Yes, it has paid off in dividends, but it certainly does cause its own set of misgivings. However, it’s the only way I know.

I just think we all have to abandon that same fantasy I mentioned earlier of some amazing opportunity falling into our laps. Sure, it may happen once or twice in a lifetime. But, the remaining abundance of really cool shit that you’ll be fortunate enough to experience will be the result of you busting your ass. The only exception is love. That is usually best when you let it fall into your lap. Everything else you want? Quit whining and go get it.

Most people don’t get cool shit in life because they’re lazy and are willing to stop at good enough. (Yes, this is the hyperachiever in me coming out so please excuse my assholery.) Good enough will pay your bills. Good enough will keep a roof over your head. Good enough will make you a semi-decent human being. But good enough will rarely make you happy.