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.