There’s a lot to love in this post about Matt’s experiences running The Story conference. But I’ll just quote this opener:
Side projects are little escape routes to doing the thing you really care about
When I started The Story, I had a very full time job, working as a commissioning editor at a major UK broadcaster. I commuted over 3 hours every day, and had two daughters aged 3 and 5. A side project was the last thing I needed, but five years later, I don’t work at Channel 4 anymore, and now run a company that started out of the ideas and connections from The Story, and works with clients like Google Creative Labs, Penguin, Dazed & Confused, and the BBC.
It helped that I have an awesome wife who also works in the creative industries, and we have a long history of supporting each others’ creative projects. But it’s made me realise how important it is to nurture and develop side projects, even if you’re not really sure what they will turn into. Side projects tend to be the things closest to what we *really* want to be doing at any moment, even if it doesn’t seem obvious at the time. A side project will at least bring valuable knowledge, perspective and insight into your day job, and at best will be a ready life-raft if you need to bale out of your current job and start anew. If you don’t have at least one side project outside your day job, start one now.