Hiya! As I mentioned in this post, this week (and even a little bit of next) is all about leading a double life. What do I mean “double life?” There are many of us whose evenings and weekends are consumed by a passion quite different from our full-time jobs. Some of us are accountants during the day and crafting-obsessed bloggers at night. Some of us are insurance underwriters during the day and midwifery assistants every moment in between. Every day this week I’ve asked several folks to share their double life stories with you. Please show them lots of love!
Today I have Tanya from Dans le Townhouse for our first post and I’m so excited to hear her story!
My name is Tanya and I blog over at Dans le Townhouse, where I chronicle my (mis)adventures in decorating, renovating, thrifting and DIY project-tackling.
Thanks to Emily for letting me spill some secrets today.
By “trade” I’m a PhD candidate and I also work at a University as a teaching assistant and research assistant. Most of my friends are grad students too. Most of my friends are awesome people. But most of my friends ask me to stop talking about my DIY projects. They might feign interest about the desk my Handy Hubs and I welded,
or the kitchen chairs we re-upholstered
(houndstooth + vintage teak = lots of deliciousness to talk about), but then they’ve hit their limit. Which is fair. Even though so many of my projects are budget & student-friendly (I made an Ikea Expedit stylish
, on a dime!) most of my friends just aren’t interested
in home décor, installing drywall or making things from felted wool
Looking for people whose eyes wouldn’t glaze over if I mentioned stenciling a poem onto a mirror I antiqued
, in 2010 I started a blog. In secret. I told almost no one. Even today, few of my friends and almost none of my co-workers know. I just don’t talk about it. I figure, if they weren’t keen on hearing about my wicked new DIY abstracts
, they’ll be even less interested in hearing me talk about blogging about
my wicked new DIY abstracts. I don’t want to torment people (luckily, my Handy Hubby is fabulously supportive).
Plus, I worry that if I miss a deadline or don’t attend a work function, co-workers might point to the blog and say, “well, it seems you had time to spray paint a bird
. . . “
I also worry they won’t take me as seriously as an academic, if they learned how much time I spend spray painting stuff, like wine bottles and birds (not real ones), taking photos of my townhouse
(soooo many) and dreaming up new ideas.
Even though it’s “hush hush,” my blog has filled a major gap in my life and connected me with DIY-savvy folks who are equally jazzed about making over their homes on a budget. I love blogging. In fact, I spend too much time blogging. Because I work from home a lot, my “water cooler break” is snapping some photos or editing a post. Then sometimes I end up working until midnight to make up for that lost time, because I can never spend “just a couple of minutes” blogging. I constantly struggle, trying to balance and prioritize the blog and my work. I have to keep reminding myself which one is the hobby.
I see my colleagues excel, surpassing me in their number of publications and conference presentations and I worry that I am shortchanging myself by focusing time on the blog. Sometimes I feel totally frivolous, posting about organizing a jewelry box with kitchen wares
or sharing photos of my recent thrifty finds
or fussing about with vintage items in my newly opened Etsy shop. I have this nagging voice, telling my I should be doing things that are “better and more important” with my time. My subconscious is kind of pompous.
Whether I’m helping someone avoid costly pitfalls by sharing the nitty-gritty of a DIY bomb, or sharing a pretty picture of a project that did turn out, or providing intimate details of our finances to helps other folks manage their own (coming soon), I’m making someone’s day a little bloggier. Maybe someone without DIY-mad friends of their own.
Oh, Tanya! We must talk some more. I try not to talk about the blog at work either. In fact, I feel really awkward when someone brings it up. I guess I just don’t want them to think I’m putting more effort into something else other than my full-time job… The truth is, I want to do really well at both!
I often miss out on work parties too, not because I don’t want to be there, but because the evening is my time to focus hard on the blog and I just can’t afford to miss out on that time. I try to keep a balance – and when it comes to after-work activities, sometimes the blog wins, sometimes work wins – but it’s a constant struggle.
Thanks so much for sharing! Please check out Tanya’s blog if you haven’t already!
We’ll be back tomorrow with another double life story!