The tyranny of the side project

I don’t know why I do it. I don’t have the time and god knows I don’t have the energy. I have a fulfilling, if difficult, job and a pretty soul sucking commute. I have friends, a sizeable comic book addiction and an awful lot of US TV to watch.

..and yet.

Time after time I find myself getting entirely preoccupied by side projects that are doomed to failure. They are also seemingly always events – weird as I hated running them when it was my job to do so! Sure one or two see the light of day but generally it goes the same way. I spend hours/days/weeks working on the project but then at some point I realise that I just don’t have the ‘cognitive surplus’ to actually see it though to completion and inevitably I haven’t asked for help when I needed it so I find myself shattered with a half formed idea taunting me.

I have had a few days off this week and I spent a good chunk of it looking in to running the Web of Words conference I blogged about. I love the idea and it is exactly the kind of event I would like to attend. The more I looked at it though the more I realised that it was likely to be all consuming for months and I had to concede I just don’t have the stomach for it.

Civic Conf went the same way. That had gone further though with a venue and speakers lined up. Then things went uber-pear-shaped at the day job and the thought of running an event even tangentially related caused me to retreat to a darkened room and hide.

As an aside the furore around #localgovcamp recently pretty much convinced me to get out of the events game anyway and I wasn’t even a little involved in that.

I think part of it is a feeling that I need to contribute to my ‘community’ and as neither a developer or a designer events have always seemed a route to that.

That is over though. I turned 41 yesterday and in doing so I had an epiphany – time to just give it up! No more event related side projects. Well at least none where I am in charge. I’d like to scratch my itch in this space by helping out with already established undertakings from time to time but no more from me – I’m just a helper elf from now on.

..now about that book I want to write🙂

3 thoughts on “The tyranny of the side project

  1. Think the time that you sink into events can drag after a while, especially if you’re doing running events voluntarily. My partner has banned me from running any more events, at the tender age of 28!

    Have you thought about a web project or product? Much easier to setup and run (compared to events)

  2. Matt Jukes says:

    Haha – a ban is pretty impressive🙂

    TBH given the hours I already work on my day job web project I need to find something a little different to give me some space. Something creative I think…just no idea what yet!

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