The most important message in my book
In the previous chapter, I explained that, in order to be successful in any unconventional pursuit, you need to work damn hard at it. Another way of putting it, is that you need to do the following:
“Show up. Show up. Show up.”
- If you are a writer, you have to show up at your writing desk to jot down your golden prose.
- If you are a photographer, you have to show up at your computer and spend hours editing and improving your photographs in Photoshop.
- If you are an artist, you have to show up in front of your canvas.
- If you are an entrepreneur, you have to show up to work and fight every battle to make your dream a reality.
And you have to keep showing up….
Again. And again. And again.
This is the most important of all messages in my book. This is the core of all creative achievement. Stripped down to the bare essentials, this is the one thing that every successful person has done in their lifetime. All other steps in this book are emotional or practical enablers for this one step of showing up.
Well, it’s easy to say that you need to show up, but a completely different thing to actually do it. So let me make your life easier with the magical list below:
The golden list of tips and tricks for “Showing up”
I provide below the golden list of tips and tricks for showing up. Some of these suggestions are drawn from my own experience. Some are suggestions from Guru-s of the unconventional universe. Some will be downright obvious to you, while you may not agree with some others. In the end, you are free to implement / reject / adapt / mangle the following to best suit your purpose.
1. Don’t wait for the perfect day
Are you the kind of person who waits for the perfect day in life when you will sit down with your writing, photography, or whatever creative work it is that you do? Well, wake up, dreamer! That day is never going to come. Take hold of today, and clear out some time for the pursuit of your unconventional journey.
PS: Let it be known that, when I first wrote this section, I was in a bad mood about something. Let it also be known that I did not sulk about it. Instead I showed up.
2. Join a MeetUp
Whatever your interest, there must be a Meetup.com group for that interest in your locality. Such groups schedule meetings focussed on a certain interest or topic every one or two weeks. This ensures that an event related to your unconventional interest pops up in your calendar at regular intervals.
Don’t have a MeetUp in your area? Don’t whine about it. Start/organize a group yourself. I did!
3. Work during lunch
How can you find some time for your unconventional career in you already busy work-day? The answer, “my dear Watson, is ‘alimentary‘” — work during lunch.
A working lunch (eating by yourself at your desk) is commonplace enough in USA, but most people spend that time looking through email, or browsing Facebook. What if you used that time for pursuing your unconventional interest? Even fifteen minutes is vastly better than nothing.
PS: Eating alone at your desk might seem like sacrilege to many people in India. If this sounds absolutely undoable, don’t do it.
4. Work when the world is sleeping
Many successful moonlighters do their unconventional work when the rest of their family is asleep. So be prepared to burn the midnight oil (or to be the early bird).
Remember: Do not wear yourself out raw in one sitting. You should have enough energy to keep coming back again.
If time is money, then the weekend’s time is precious gold. I get it that you need to unwind and relax over the weekend. But once in a while, instead of getting your ‘happy feeling’ from cocktails and wine, how about hitting a high in your unconventional pursuit? Getting to spend a quality two to three hours on your project will give you a lovely heady feeling (and that too, without any hangovers!).
6. Work when you fly
Work when you fly. Keep your laptop/tablet handy when you are flying, and chip away at your pet project. (If your unconventional pursuit does not directly involve working on the computer, there must be something computer related that you could do e.g. update your blog, research for ideas etc.).
‘Air-time’ has the added advantage that you might not readily get internet access. As listed in the step below, this can be a blessing.
Being unplugged and away from the Internet can work wonders for your work. While online time is important for researching ideas and networking, offline time is essential too. Being disconnected from the Internet is such an enabling situation that many artists and creators actually pay money to remain disconnected from the Internet while they work.
If you feel lonely in the pursuit of your unconventional career, go to a cafe. Cafe-s provide a conducive environment for sitting at a desk and working on your project, without the feeling of isolation. Also, if you complete a good chunk of work in the cafe, you can treat yourself to their freshly baked chocolate chip cookie as a reward!
9. Doing it in the back-seat of the car
Suggestive titles aside, this particular trick is a testimony of the ingenuity of people in squeezing out time from busy schedules. Amish Tripathi held a high profile job when he wrote his best-selling books. He wrote the major portion of his books in the back seat of his car when he was being driven to and from office.
NOTE: You typically will not have a chauffeur unless you are a successful executive in India. But, this example shows that there is always room to improvise (whatever your present situation).
You got the idea, right?
I guess you get the general idea… There is always scope to carve out time in your already busy schedule to work on your unconventional pursuits. If you have some tricks of your own, let me know in the comments section below.
Others have done it before. So can you!