Dark Days in pursuit of a living.

Without structure, work could be anything — how can that be tied down? The realisation that everything’s a mystery, but on reflection, it’s not that bad…

In the time it’s taken me to write this post and read it back, the dark clouds have lifted. I’m tired and as a result, melodramatic, but if I look at what I’ve done this week, compared to many people’s working weeks it’s been productive and one big adventure. I need to man up and enjoy every moment.

I’m still going to share this, as a demonstration of the emotional rollercoaster the project is becoming…

This day was always going to come. The sudden dawn of what the hell am I doing?

I set out on The Work Project to genuinely understand work. What I didn’t vouch for was how little I understood myself, or more specifically how long it would take to get the world to understand me – and therefore give me the ability to make money.

I write this on Friday afternoon. I’m fighting the urge to just pack up and go to the pub, mainly because I’m wary of turning up to collect the kids from school half-cut.

I have an overwhelming amount of things to do (things that I’ve promised people) and a list of practical things to get on with that I’m sure, somewhere down the line will manifest in money, or some form of value-recognising payment to help me sustain my life. I just don’t have the energy to do any of them.

I’m tired. Really tired.

I know it will pass, but I figure I’m allowed a dark day or two during this – it’s good for perspective. The main issue is that even though I’m free to do what I want, when I want, with every passing day the lack of actual, tangible earning turns the pressure up a little. Any spare moment is now a moment I should be spending finding a way to make a living and as a result I’m doing crazy amounts of work at crazy times of day. There is no balance – life and work are one and the same.

The list of opportunities continues to stack up at an overwhelming rate and although this is amazing and there’s so much possibility, the fact that I have no real defined ‘trade’, just ideas, makes it really hard to know what to pursue and what not. As a result I’m flitting between, rather than focussing on any one thing. Admittedly, that’s the root of my tribulations, but I also have a real feeling that if I dig deeply enough I’ll uncover something real and unique – and convince the world of its value.

I’ve started writing a book on my workplace theories. Inspired by a morning of Street Wisdom yesterday exploring the problem I’ve previously discussed where pigeonholing what I do is hard, I realised that if I can’t be placed into an existing box, I’ll need to create my own. In fact ‘Creating Your Own Box’ is a chapter title in the book. I’ll have it finished within a month – then get back to my effort to crowdsource a book deal or an agent.

It’s the creative side of my ideas that grabs me – the ideas themselves. Like the #100Connections project. It’s probably the most exciting thing that’s happened to me ever, but I’m at risk of losing control of it due to not devoting the time I should to really explore it and provide the participants the support I need to. I’ve spent some time figuring out what I need to do with it – I’ll be blogging that over at the #100Connections Medium Collection imminently.

There’s a value in these kinds of projects – maybe that’s where my living lies. Ultimately though, I still need to work out what that looks like and I’m increasingly on borrowed time as the money continues to dwindle. I have ideas. The secret is action, real and sustained.

The weird thing is, as I write this, the fog in my mind is lifting. Again, I can see things looking possible, achievable even. Maybe I’ve just had a hard week, over-analysed, under-slept and expected too much from myself. Actually, when I reflect on the last five days, everything has stepped forward in pretty giant steps and I have to remember, this is a first world project — I’m privileged enough just to be able to take it on.

Next week will be amazing. It’s the week John, the faceless worker – mascot for The Work Project, will be properly introduced to the world — alongside my first public attempt at spoken word.

Where else would I get the opportunity to do these things?!

By Andy Swann on October 10, 2014.
Exported from Medium on July 15, 2016.