I’ve been experiencing a lot of apathy lately with some of my side projects. With the transition to married life, a 40-hour work week and moving from Nowhere, Kentucky to New York City I’ve had a lot less time than I usually enjoy to work on side projects and experiments. Inevitably these side projects lose their fun and start becoming like actual work.
The lesson I’ve had to start learning is that it’s ok for my free time to not benefit anyone other than myself. My sketchbook doesn’t have to look like Dribbble, my website doesn’t have to draw hundreds of thousands of visitors. I even caught myself asking why I want more Twitter followers. I don’t need to feel guilty for not having a personal brand and playing with my personal site design as often as possible. A lot of my apathy and stress around these side projects that were supposed to be fun is born out of the imagined pressure from an outside world. I obviously want to do my best work, but I’m not letting the loose parts nibble at my thoughts. I missed out on Paul Ford’s tilde.club, but I’ve still been able to get some inspiration from the outside. The idea of carving a personal niche dedicated to experiments and what’s fun about design and code.
These lessons about working loosely and without fear of mistakes were things I was supposed to learn from my art teachers, but I was more involved in the pixel perfect world of the current design culture. The benefits of exploration and acting instictively are drowned in a deluge of content so we never have to see anything that’s not polished and agonized over. So I set out to build something selfish and personal without thinking about the number of likes, or retweets or best practices or anything aside from how I wanted my internet house to look.
I missed out on Paul Ford’s tilde.club, but I’ve still been able to get some inspiration from the outside. The idea of carving a personal niche in the internet is very appealing to me and what I’ve tried to replicate here. So please look around, have some fun and make some mistakes.