Once upon a time, working with computers was merely a hobby.
I was in graduate school, earning a masters degree in management and marketing. To better market myself, I purchased a domain name and started working on a website. The first version was vanilla PHP, but I quickly transitioned to using WordPress as a foundation and, once again, found myself with a blog.
Luckily, that hobby paid off in the form of freelance work when I couldn’t find regular employment after school. It also helped me easily pivot from a marketing position to a tech one in a struggling startup.
That said, when a hobby becomes your career, it’s hard to maintain it outside of work.
I spend 8+ hours every day sitting at a computer, writing code. There are hundreds of side projects I’d like to work on, but few ever see the light of day.
In September of 2013, I started working on an open-source Evernote clone. The project lasted about a month before I burned out and failed to ship even a buggy first version. Last December I announced too early that I’d have a Windows-based WordPress authoring app shipped by Christmas. I spent about two weeks working on the code, loving every minute, but finding little reason to keep going forward.
At the end of my days working with .Net code, coming home to hack on PHP was fun. It was the play to offset my work.
Now, my hobby has become my job and working on code outside of work has become something I don’t look forward to rather than the thing that keeps me going. I’ve begun investing in other non-code hobbies, but it’s very much like starting over from scratch.
In short: I’m looking for a way to make coding on the side excite me again in the way it used to. Otherwise my day job and my hobby time are both all work and I become a very very dull individual.
What do you do to take your mind off work and unwind at the end of the day/week/season?