My walk home from work often takes me by a large open floor plan office with huge windows on the street. Several design/web/graphic/creative-type companies work out of the space. I can never not look in. When I walked by one day recently, the place was empty, but one monitor was still illuminated, desktop emblazoned with a huge graffiti-like font that read: THIS IS NOT YOUR SIDE HUSTLE.
A quick google search showed that this isn’t some trendy YOLO sort of thing (which I am sometimes a bit behind on). My guess is it is some sort of mantra or reminder to the person who uses that (fabulous) monitor. I certainly can’t surmise what it means to him or her, but here’s what it meant to me:
Side hustles are hobbies. I’ve had lots of them, and I have the unfinished scrapbooks, half-painted picture frames and two-thirds crocheted scarves to prove it. When I found writing, I fell in love. I can write for hours, moving my characters through scenes in my head. I think about them when I’m not writing and ferociously reach for any scrap of paper so I don’t forget that thing that needs to happen. Not finishing the story isn’t an option.
Despite my love, I treated my writing like a hobby for a long time. It was the thing I would do when everything else was done. A little treat I would give myself on a luxurious day off with no plans. Never the thing I made a priority. Always the side hustle.
Early this year I decided it was more. I finally acknowledged that I wasn’t writing those stories just for me. They were meant to be shared and I embarked on this crazy journey of actually trying to publish what I have written. Of telling people when and where and how they could find my words. I started to give myself deadlines for getting the rest of those stories out of my head.
I no longer found time to write, I made time
I no longer say I like to write. Instead, I say I am a writer.
This is NOT my side hustle.