Focusing on Fun

I keep trying to work this into a post about the movie Rounders, because I’ve been taking some inspiration from it lately, but the post comes out not saying what I want it to, so instead I’m going to stick with writing what I want to communicate.

You’ve probably noticed that my site has undergone a few changes in the last month. I’ve experimented with themes, added a banner pic.

But probably the most fundamental change, you’ve likely not noticed.

Since I re-vitalised my web site, I’ve had this “Hire Rob!” page up there. Freelance writing can be a pretty lucrative field, and we could always use the money. I think it got a huge number of hits when I published it and put a thing on it in LinkedIn.

But it’s never generated any serious leads.

I’m not surprised. It read like I was trying to pitch my services to someone who’s really miserable, stretched in too many directions.

Like I was when I wrote it.

Lately, I’d been thinking about revising it, targeting it more toward people who love their vocations and are happy to not just share their enthusiasm with someone equally as enthusiastic, but also value that time.

I joined a small business forum and asked for some assistance with the Hire Me! page. I got some good feedback and made a checklist of stuff to fix up.

But one fo the notes was to do something about the page’s presentation.

A couple of weeks before, changed the theme of my site to one that I thought suited Step One: Make Fun! well, all funky and light-hearted and DIY, but not the sort of thing that would attract someone who might pay me money to write for them.

It seemed I needed to change into a pure pro writer’s blog and shift Step One: Make Fun over to a separate blog on WordPress.

Instead, I took “Hire Rob!” down.

Why? As I said above, we could use the money, especially after the string of emergencies in the first half of the year.

No matter what, we all have no more than twenty four hours in our day. Like many of you, I commute, I work a day job, I sleep, and I have the time in between.

Right now, I spend that between-time being (or, as Vickie can attest, trying to be with varying degrees of success) present with the people whom I love and developing the projects that I’m genuinely curious about: Step One: Make Fun!, the Thing-A-Week project and the Paid to Play Podcast, not to mention the Deathwatch RPG campaign I’m developing with my friends in Sydney and the States and the weekly BWI podcast that Marcus and I record.

As much as it might earn me some success and security, I’m not really curious about freelancing. If I were, I’d be putting my “hobby” time into it instead of blogging, podcasting, developing a campaign.

If I’m not curious about something, the best I’ll ever get in doing it is competent – and I’ll hate every step I take to gain that competence.

Especially if I give up all the other stuff I’m doing with my hobby time.

If I didn’t, if I tried to cram the lot in, thinking I could do it all… well, much like the target of my Hire Me! page, I’d be splitting my attention too many ways to really enjoy life.

So what am I doing instead?

Firstly, I’m going to divert my mind from looking for problems.

Really, my wife and I’s lives are pretty darned good.

As I keep reminding myself, we have a house on a big block of land. We have a gorgeous pair of dogs. We have steady incomes and while we have debts, they’re not deep ones.

I can go creating reasons to panic, try to fix everything myself, or I can accept that the world is beyond my control and that it brings just as many hugs as it does slugs, and do my best in the meantime.

Secondly, I’m going to put my mental energy into things other than worrying about finances.

We’ve had some financial breaks with the new financial year. We’ve paid some of the emergency expenditures off and thanks to some juggling I’ve eliminated one lot of debt.

On top of these, the things we really want to be doing, we don’t have to pay out much for anyway.

Finally, I’m going to focus on ways to help others through the things I enjoy doing.

One of the ideas behind becoming a freelancer was expanding my skills beyond myself, applying my passion for writing in the service of others’ needs.

Instead, though, I want to take a path perhaps harder, but with more potential reward. I want to encourage you to take a chance on not just your talent but also your passions.

You can try adapting the bare mechanics of your talent to earn you an income – or you can follow in the steps that Gavin Dunne took that made Miracle of Sound into his success story. You can invest your technique with your passion and let the results sell themselves, let them find their own audience.

I hope you’ll be with me for the trip!