Digital Writing

How Pursuing Digital Writing As A Passion Project Got Me Out Of A Career Slump.

Natasha Musa 3 min read
How Pursuing Digital Writing As A Passion Project Got Me Out Of A Career Slump.
Natasha Musa - How Pursuing Digital Writing As A Passion Project Got Me Out Of A Career Slump

We’ve all struggled with feeling stuck in our jobs.

For me, it happened a couple of years ago. I had started a new job that was overwhelmingly demanding. The workload and deadlines were crazy.

Not wanting to fall behind and still at a stage where I needed to prove my worth to the organisation, I started prioritising my job, often working crazy hours to manage deadlines and requests. Unfortunately, this affected my mental state, health and relationships with the people I love. I was constantly stressed and experiencing anxiety. I felt like everything was moving too fast, being pulled into a million directions and losing control of my life. While my waking hours were wholly dedicated to getting work done, I rarely felt I accomplished anything.

I hated what I was going through, but I was determined to find ways to take back control of my life.

Jumping ship was, unfortunately, out of the question.

How Exploring Digital Writing As A Passion Project Got Me Out Of A Career Slump.

I researched and experimented with different strategies and techniques, from meditating to journaling to self-coaching.

During this time, I came across an article that recommended picking up a passion project, hobby or creative pursuit, whatever you'd like to call it, after work hours to help shut down and calm your mind to overcome burnout or stress. I've always wanted to pursue online writing more consistently, so I decided to dedicate an hour a day to writing after work hours.

I started by signing up for a cohort writing course called Ship 30 for 30.

The course required students to write 30 atomic essays in 30 days, post them on Twitter (I hate calling it X), and connect with other students in the cohort to provide feedback on each other's writing. The course requirement and commitment to publish 30 atomic essays in 30 days forced me to shut my mind off work and refocus my attention on writing the essays.

What I learned from the experiment was this:

I was so overwhelmed with my workload that I put in more hours to get things done, which added to my stress and anxiety. I've realised that no matter how crazy the work is, we all need to take a break and focus on pursuing something we enjoy. Pursuing writing outside of my 9-5 has helped me tremendously to shut down from work, recover from the daily grind and reset to start the next day fresh.

After I completed Ship 30 for 30, I continued writing on X and committed at least half an hour a day to a pursuit I enjoy, such as reading and walking daily.

I have experienced first-hand the positive impact of pursuing a passion project; here are five that I'd like to share:

#1: I feel more accomplished.

Work can be daunting.

There are many challenges, and in achieving work goals, you can only achieve something with the help of others. External factors like budgets, operations and other organisational processes can create setbacks and stumbling blocks.

Pursuing writing as a creative pursuit has allowed me to accomplish projects on my own terms.

I don't need to wait for anyone. I don't need to get any approvals. There is no red tape. Instead, I set out goals that are simpler to achieve yet provide deep satisfaction upon completion, and the best part is that I get to work at my own pace.

When I publish a blog post, I have a sense of achievement and pride in completing it. I may not be the best writer on earth, but I did it; I pressed publish.

#2: I am less stressed.

Before I took up writing as a hobby, I would stress about work even after office hours.

The process of reading, researching and drafting an essay provides the respite I need from overthinking about work deadlines and issues. Writing online helps me refocus my attention from work and helps me relax.

It has also helped me manage my stress levels better and manage challenges much better.

#3: I've made new friends from all over the world.

Since I started writing online again, I have connected with people worldwide in X.

I've made friends and connected with people from New York, India and Australia. People from different backgrounds who have a common interest in learning from others and developing personal growth.

In the process, I've learned new things from my newfound friends.

#4: I consistently learn something new.

Writing online has allowed me to explore new topics and share what I have learned with others.

Learning new things makes life interesting. The more you learn, the more you realise there is more knowledge to gain. I am also grateful because there is so much more to look forward to, new things to learn, do and explore.

#5: My career no longer defines me.

I have been a marketing communications professional for over twenty years.

I love what I do as a marketer. Creating and implementing marketing strategies to resolve a business problem still excites me. Exploring passion projects is not just a leisurely activity that helps with stress management; it also reminds me that I have many passions and interests in life.

I am embracing the different facets of my life and no longer define myself only by my career.

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