They say "everyone has a book in them" and I really think this is true. Find something you are passionate about and the words will follow. It's been ages since I've written a non-recipe, non-bookclub post so I'm a little nervous about this post. Writing about this kind of stuff is hard. I'm out of my comfort zone and I worry about what people who read it will think. But then I remind myself that making decisions based on what other people think is not good. Plus I'm also reminded that we can't be courageous without emotional exposure (thank you Brené Browne) and who doesn't want to be courageous.

About a month ago, I took on a passion project. I started to write my own novel. I've wanted to do it for ages and previous attempts had fallen by the wayside. Over the years, I've often thought to myself "yes, I do have a book in me" and then proceeded to do absolutely nothing about it. Like when you think of something you'd really love to do, only to then find every excuse in the book not to do it. It's really annoying... why do we do this? I figure, the biggest reason with not pursing passion projects is a fear of failure or of being disappointed. Ok, so I don't for one second think that my novel will be winning the Man Booker prize soon and I'm not even sure it'll ever make it off my laptop. But you know what, realising that none of that matters was what made the difference to me saying yes this time, instead of finding another excuse to put it off.

Getting Started...

The one big challenge to pursuing a passion project is finding the right time to start. But, if you wait for the perfect time, that usually means you will be waiting, and waiting... and waiting some more. Most passion projects come complete with a fear of failure wrapped up in anxiety and we'll always find an excuse to put off starting something we're nervous about. Instead, be brave and just go for it. The beauty of passion projects is that once you start them, you'll enjoy them so much, you'll forget what you were nervous about.

Making time...

Be strict with yourself and 'gift' yourself time to do whatever it is you love. This doesn't have to be everyday but it does have to be enough to give yourself a fair shot of pursuing your passion. This may mean carving out a set number of hours each week or asking family or friends to help you out. If you aren't strict with this, you will always find other everyday tasks to put ahead of your project. Depending on what your project is, the ultimate gift would be to book yourself some time away from your everyday life to fully immerse yourself in it. Maybe it's learning yoga and if so how nice would it be to go on a yoga holiday? For me, it might be going away for a week on my own and allowing myself become to write with no distractions.

GIving yourself a break...

And by break, I mean not being hard on yourself. If passion projects are about having fun and self-improvement, any judgement and self-critisism should be left at the door. Ok I need to stop right here! It's one hundred per cent easire to say this, than to put it into practice. It someimes feels like we're programmed from birth to beat ourselves up. So time, to set a daily reminder to practice self compassion every single day and . I recently started watching Kristen Neff could all do with setting ourselves a daily reminder to quit the self-judgement. If your passion project isn't going to plan, just make a new plan. If you start to lose your passion for the project halfway through, it's ok to take a break or to quit altogether. We are experts at judging ourselves, usually way to harshly, so any such tendancies need to be kept in check.

Being courageous...

So back to Brene Browne for a minute. She talks about how we can't be courageous if we don't embrace uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure. Taking on a passion project can often be a big deal. We might have thought about it for a long time and struggled with whether we are ready or not. With that, there's bound to be a fair dose of uncertainty, risk and exposure. And now I realised that's ok. That we need to embrace all of these things and allow ourselves feel them to have the courage to take on these kind of projects. So now instead of seeing worry and uncertainty as a reason not to write a novel, I see them as a sign that I should. Other people might think my novel is crap or they may not. But I'm doing it anyway.

Embracing authenticity...

Passion Projects by their very nature must be authentic. But in a world where we are driven by trends, how can we be sure that we really are passionate about something rather than just thinking we should be? Does that make sense? There is zero passion in doing something for the sake of it or because it's the 'cool' thing to do. The key to saying yes to your passion project is finding the project you are absolutely, one hundred per cent passionate about!

After that, the rest is easy, or at least I hope so x


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DESIGNED BY Frances Walsh 

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