Side projects liberate you
No matter what your goal — learning a new technology, making some money, achieving something in an area you care about — side projects are liberating. In an era where we are all increasingly obligated to do what other people want (who else is going to deliver work projects, pay the bills, do the school run, and generally make sure the wheels don't fly off?) side projects are a chance to do something just for yourself. They give you agency, self-belief and happiness — and vital skills that can be put to use to make publishing better.
Side projects help the publishing industry
Publishing needs to be technically literate if it's to survive and thrive. It's up to us — the workers — to make that happen, because publishing companies can't seem to visualise what efficiencies and cost savings could be produced with in-house skills.
Technical literacy within the industry means:
- A wider range and higher number of projects brought quicker and more cheaply to market, with more imagination and flair, breaking away from staid same-old methods, and reaching new and underserved readers.
- Less of the industry's current dependency on external actors, from tech giants to expensive consultants and agencies.
- A greater ability to share our authors' work far and wide.
Side projects help your employer
A technical side project helps your employer, who could provide some work hours as part of your continuing professional development. Here's a list of what they get out of it: share it with them to encourage them to support you in your efforts.
- Staff retention The best employment perks are those that money can’t buy. Time for staff to work on their own project and skills development is invaluable and makes you stand out from other employers.
- Source of creativity and innovation Given free rein, people come up with all sorts of interesting ideas. Use side projects to test out innovations, new skills and new directions, before committing budget to them at work.
- Staff-led, free, self-managed training As well as requiring no oversight or budget, side project sessions often inspire a level of enthusiasm to continue into the weekend. As an employer, you get a lot of staff skills training for a very small investment.